Led by another spectacular performance in South Korea and strong growth in Japan, Taiwan and Latin America, July beef exports climbed 12 percent in volume to 116,575 mt, valued at $722 million – up 16 percent from a year ago and just slightly below the May 2018 record of $722.1 million. For January through July, beef exports established a record pace in both volume (779,450 mt, up 10 percent year-over-year) and value ($4.76 billion, up 20 percent).
July exports accounted for 14 percent of total beef production and 11.8 percent for muscle cuts only (the highest since December 2016) – each up nearly a full percentage point from a year ago. For January through July, exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total beef production and 11.1 percent for muscle cuts – up from 12.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $326.18 per head of fed slaughter in July, up 9 percent from a year ago. Through July, per-head export value was up 16 percent to $318.31.
“The worldwide momentum for U.S. beef has rarely been as strong as it is today,” Halstrom said. “To a large degree our mainstay Asian markets are driving this growth, but emerging markets in Asia and in the Western Hemisphere are also displaying a tremendous appetite for U.S. beef and contributing significantly to the surge in export value. From high-end restaurants to convenience stores, U.S. beef is gaining new fans across the globe on a daily basis."
U.S. beef exports to Japan hit a post-BSE volume high in July, reaching 31,883 mt (up 15 percent from a year ago) valued at $196.3 million (up 12 percent). For January through July, exports were up 7 percent in volume (191,237 mt) and 12 percent in value ($1.21 billion). This included a 4 percent increase in chilled beef exports to 87,034 mt valued at $694.9 million (up 13 percent). U.S. beef has captured 50 percent of Japan’s chilled import market this year, down slightly from a year ago.
Beef export growth to Korea continued at a remarkable pace in July, with volume up 51 percent from a year ago to 23,614 mt and value soaring 66 percent to $169.2 million. This shattered the previous monthly value record of $154.8 million, set in June 2018. For January through July, exports to Korea jumped 38 percent to 136,897 mt, valued at $971.2 million (up 54 percent). This included a 33 percent increase in chilled beef exports to 29,923 mt, valued at $289.2 million (up 45 percent). U.S. beef has accounted for 58 percent of Korea’s chilled beef imports this year and 53 percent of the chilled/frozen total (up from 54 percent and 47 percent, respectively, during the same period last year). Australia is expected to trigger its beef safeguard in the coming weeks, resulting in a temporary tariff rate increase agreed to in the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement. This could further strengthen momentum for U.S. chilled beef to Korea through the end of this year.
Other January-July highlights for U.S. beef include:
- Although export volume to China/Hong Kong slowed in July, the January-July total was still up 10 percent from a year ago to 72,193 mt, while value climbed 37 percent to $572.9 million. Efforts to build a presence for U.S. beef in China have been hampered by retaliatory duties, which increased the tariff rate from 12 to 37 percent in early July. January-July exports to China were 4,138 mt valued at $36.4 million.
- U.S. beef is enormously popular in Taiwan, where the United States captures nearly 75 percent of the chilled beef market. July export volume was record-large at 5,640 mt, up 46 percent from a year ago, while value climbed 32 percent to $48 million. Through July, exports to Taiwan increased 34 percent from a year ago in volume (32,504 mt) and 38 percent in value ($297.7 million). Chilled beef exports totaled 13,040 mt (up 32 percent), valued at $161.3 million (up 41 percent).
- Despite recent trade tensions and uncertainty, beef exports to Mexico have been very solid in 2018, with volume up 2 percent from a year ago to 137,560 mt and value up 9 percent to $596.5 million. For muscle cuts only, exports increased 10 percent in volume to 80,450 mt and 11 percent in value to $465.7 million.
- Strong growth in the Philippines helped push beef exports to the ASEAN region 9 percent higher in volume (25,520 mt) and 24 percent higher in value ($141.6 million). Exports to Singapore and Indonesia have also increased this year, though volumes to Indonesia slowed the past two months.
- In Central America, larger volumes to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama pushed exports 29 percent higher in volume (8,320 mt) and 28 percent higher in value ($45.4 million). Despite a modest decline in volume, export value also increased to Honduras.