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August beef exports again top $1 billion

published: October 14th 2022
source: USMEF

Beef exports were slightly above last August’s large volume and again topped $1 billion in value, reaching this milestone in seven out of eight months this year, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Pork exports reached 226,293 metric tons (mt) in August, up slightly from a year ago and the largest since November 2021, while export value climbed 4% to $659.6 million. Through August, pork exports were 15% below last year at 1.72 million mt, valued at $4.9 billion (down 13%).

August beef exports totaled 133,832 mt, up 1% year-over-year and the second largest volume on record – trailing only May 2022. Export value was just under $1.04 billion, slightly below the then-record total achieved in August 2021, which was the first time monthly exports topped the $1 billion mark. For the first eight months of 2022, beef exports increased 5% from a year ago to 1.004 million mt, valued at $8.23 billion – a remarkable 24% above last year’s record pace.

“We speak often about the importance of developing a wide range of markets for U.S. red meat, and the August export results are a great illustration of that,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Exports face significant headwinds in some key destinations, with weakened currencies topping the list. But the emphasis on broad-based growth really pays dividends in these situations, allowing the overall export picture to remain very positive. I also cannot say enough about the loyalty of our international customers, many of whom have diminished purchasing power but continue to show a strong preference for U.S. red meat.” 


Widespread growth, led by China/Hong Kong, Middle East and ASEAN, bolster August beef exports

Despite China’s ongoing travel restrictions and periodic lockdowns in some of its largest metropolitan areas, demand for U.S. beef continues to grow. August exports to China/Hong Kong reached a record 30,806 mt, up 20% from a year ago, while value increased 17% to $272.3 million. Through August, exports increased 25% to 193,511 mt, while value was up 38% to $1.77 billion. China/Hong Kong is the second highest value destination for U.S. beef in 2022, trailing only South Korea, and China was the top value destination for U.S. beef muscle cut exports in August. Though not reflected in the January-August results, Hong Kong’s foodservice and hospitality sectors recently received a boost as health officials lifted onerous hotel quarantine requirements for incoming travelers.

August beef exports to Korea were slightly above last year’s large volume at 24,546 mt, though export value slipped 2% to $213.1 million. Through August, exports to Korea were 4% above last year’s record pace at 197,749 mt, with value climbing 28% to $1.93 billion. Similar to pork, Korea recently opened a duty-free quota for imported beef. Although the quota temporarily eliminated U.S. beef’s tariff rate advantage over major competitors and helped underpin a sharp increase in imports from Australia and Canada, the move has bolstered overall beef demand amid rising inflation and sharp devaluation of the Korean won. 

Following a strong July performance, beef exports to Japan took a step back in August at 25,959 mt, down 18% from a year ago. Export value was $189.3 million, down 19%. This included a sharp decline in beef variety meat exports (mainly tongues and skirts), which fell 46% to 3,964 mt. Through August, Japan remained the leading volume destination for U.S. beef exports at 212,198 mt, down 2% from a year ago, while export value increased 11% to $1.67 billion. Japan is the leading value destination for U.S. beef variety meat exports, and while January-August exports were down 8% in volume (37,545 mt), export value climbed 28% above last year’s record pace at $379.4 million.


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