U.S. beef exports maintained their strong momentum in May, with export volumes exceeding last year’s totals and value increasing by double digits, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.
Beef exports in May were up 5 percent in volume (227 million pounds) and 15 percent in value ($589 million). For the first five months of 2014, export volume was up 9 percent to 1.06 billion pounds and value increased 17 percent to $2.64 billion.
Beef exports largest of the year to Hong Kong, Mexico
In mid-June, U.S. beef gained full access to Hong Kong, adding key products such as ground beef and processed meats. But even with some restrictions still in place, May exports to Hong Kong surged more than 80 percent from a year ago to 28.6 million pounds. On a value basis, exports more than doubled to $95.2 million.
Other May highlights for beef exports included:
- Exports to Mexico increased 35 percent to 45.2 million pounds, the largest monthly total of the year, while value increased 52 percent to $93.5 million. This pushed the January-May total to 96,281 mt (+34 percent), valued at $452.5 million (+49 percent).
- Strong momentum continued for exports to Korea, which increased 26 percent in volume (20.4 million pounds) and 48 percent in value ($58.5 million). Korea’s five-month value total was nearly one-third higher than a year ago ($314.7 million, +32 percent) as retail outlets and restaurants have shown renewed interest in featuring U.S. beef. Beef muscle cut value ($299.8 million, +41 percent) accelerated at an even more rapid pace.
- Exports to Taiwan continued to bounce back from a slow first quarter, increasing 25 percent in volume (7.5 million pounds) and 16 percent in value ($25.7 million). Demand for chilled U.S. beef remains strong in Taiwan, even as frozen exports face increased competition from Australia (due to large, drought-induced supplies) and New Zealand (which has a new free trade agreement with Taiwan).
- Japan’s results slowed from a year ago, but this was in comparison to very large totals from May 2013. For the first five months of the year, exports to Japan are fairly steady with last year’s strong pace in both volume (192.4 million pounds, -1 percent) and value ($547.9 million, +1 percent).
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter set another new record in May at $279.39, up $47.72 from a year ago. The ratio of U.S. production exported was 11 percent for muscle cuts and 14 percent for muscle cuts and variety meat combined – up from 10 percent and 13 percent, respectively, from a year ago.
Complete export totals for U.S. beef are available online.
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