With December totals yet to be recorded, U.S. beef exports already set a new full-year value record of $6.49 billion during the first 11 months of 2014 (up 16 percent from 2013), according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. For the year-to-date through November, exports were $626.7 million, up 19 percent from the same period in 2013.

Reflective of tight supplies, meanwhile, U.S. beef export volumes trended 5 percent lower in the month of November 2014, compared to November 2013. But cumulative 2014 year-to-date volume totals remain ahead of 2013, with January-November beef exports up 2 percent to 2.425 billion pounds.

Key Asian markets drive beef export value to record heights

November beef exports equated to 15 percent of total production and 12 percent of muscle cut production, compared to 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively, a year ago. For January through November, exports equated to 14 percent of total production and 11 percent for muscle cuts (up from 13 percent and 10 percent). Export value per head of fed slaughter was $359.77 in November (up 35 percent from a year ago) and $293.96 for January-November (up 16 percent).

November exports to leading market Japan were the smallest since March at 40.6 million pounds – reflecting a seasonal slowdown – but export value ($136.5 million) was still up 35 percent. January-November exports increased 3 percent in volume (496 million pounds) and 13 percent in value ($1.47 billion) as U.S. beef continued to reclaim market share in Japan.

Other January-November beef results include:

  • Exports to Hong Kong surpassed $1 billion for the first time ($1.01 billion, up 39 percent) on volume of 302.9 million pounds (up 19 percent).
  • Strong momentum continued for U.S. beef in South Korea, as exports were up 14 percent in volume (236 million pounds) and 44 percent in value ($762.8 million). On a value basis, U.S. market share in Korea climbed from 38 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2014.
  • Exports to Taiwan rebounded from a slow start in 2014, reaching 68 million pounds (up 6 percent) valued at a record $264.8 million (up 15 percent).
  • While exports to Mexico slowed in November, totals were still up 14 percent in volume (484 million pounds) and 28 percent in value ($1.05 billion) for the year. (As USMEF has noted previously, however, data issues from January-May 2013 suggest that year-over-year growth for 2014 is likely overstated.)

Complete January-November export totals for U.S. beef are available here. For more information, please contact Joe Schuele at jschuele@usmef.org or 303-226-7309.