- Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat unless otherwise noted
- One metric ton = 2,204.622 pounds
The value of beef exports for the quarter rose 4 percent (to $1.25 billion) on 10 percent lower volumes (266,388 metric tons).
Beef export volume in March of 89,803 metric tons was 23 percent lower than last year but up 3 percent from February. March export value of $438.5 million was down 8 percent year-over-year but was 7 percent higher than the previous month.
“Beef market access issues and price sensitivity are making volume growth difficult in some markets, but we are pleased to see export value remaining above last year’s record pace, even on smaller volumes,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.
March beef export value equated to $204.65 per fed steer and heifer slaughtered, down slightly from the March 2011 total of $205.40. Beef exports accounted for 12 percent of total U.S. production when including both muscle cuts and variety meat, and 9 percent for muscle cuts only. These ratios were lower than a year ago (15 percent and 11 percent, respectively).
Despite a 13 percent decline in volume, Mexico remained the leading destination for U.S. beef (55,725 metric tons) and exports to Mexico managed a 5 percent increase in value to $250.9 million. Export volume to Canada was steady with last year at 36,834 metric tons, but 15 percent higher in value at $215.4 million.
In Japan, where the Food Safety Commission continues to examine BSE-related age and product restrictions on U.S. beef, exports were down 7 percent in volume (29,695 metric tons) but up 10 percent in value ($194 million). The United States continues to gain market share, as Australia’s exports to Japan have fallen 14 percent in 2012.
Other first quarter market highlights included:
- Exports to Russia reflected a shift toward higher-value muscle cuts, as volume increased 4 percent to 14,463 metric tons but volume surged 85 percent to $59.9 million. As with pork, U.S. beef faces a more favorable access situation in Russia as the U.S. tariff rate quota for muscle cuts was expanded from 41,700 metric tons in 2011 to 60,000 metric tons this year.
- While exports to some Middle East markets slowed, Egypt continued to post very strong results – increasing 12 percent in volume (31,466 metric tons) and 18 percent in value ($47.7 million). As a result, exports to the Middle East region were up slightly in volume (35,480 metric tons) and 10 percent in value ($78.9 million).
- Led by outstanding results in Chile, exports to the Central and South America region increased 44 percent in volume (8,383 metric tons) and 94 percent in value ($32.5 million). Exports to Peru and Guatemala also posted impressive value growth.