Beef – it’s what’s for dinner on more plates around the globe based on record-setting export levels in 2013, according to USDA statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. For all of 2013, beef exports were up 3 percent in volume to 1.17 million metric tons and 12 percent in value, reaching $6.157 billion and breaking the 2012 value record.
In December alone, led by growth in export sales to Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong and Central/South America, beef exports were up by nearly 13 percent in volume and 20 percent in value compared to year-ago totals. To Japan, beef sales ended 2013 up 54 percent in volume and 35 percent in value. Since Japan closed its market to U.S. beef after the discovery of BSE in December 2003 in Washington State, the U.S. beef industry has been working to regain its market presence and reach pre-BSE export levels. In 2013, U.S. beef exports to Japan reached $1.389 in value, which is just shy of the $1.391 reached in 2003.
A new annual record was set for U.S. beef exports to Hong Kong, which doubled in volume and increased 142 percent in value to $823.3 million. The Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Vietnam region is the fastest growing beef import region in the world, according to CattleFax.
According to USMEF, the increased exports also helped drive cattle values higher in 2013, with export values averaging $244.96 per head of fed slaughter cattle, which is $28.23 higher than the export value in 2012.
Beef exports are expected to be even in 2014, according to CattleFax Global Market Special Brett Stuart.
While beef exports were up in 2013, pork exports were down 5 percent in volume and 4 percent in value compared to 2012. Despite finishing 2013 with a 7 percent increase in value, lamb exports were down 6 percent in volume.
For complete export results, visit the USMEF statistics webpage.