News Releases

Date: 8/16/2010

Title: Strong Mid-year Results for U.S. Beef Exports

DENVER - A very solid June performance allowed U.S. pork and beef exports to finish the first half of 2010 with strong momentum. According to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), June beef exports were 25 percent above year-ago volumes, totaling 96,578 metric tons (212.9 million pounds), while the value in June was up 37 percent to $377.6 million.

Beef export volume reached 495,443 metric tons (1.09 billion pounds) – up 14 percent over the first half of 2009. Export value has fared even better, rising 22 percent to $1.83 billion. Export value per steer and heifer slaughtered was $139, compared to less than $115 last year. The percentage of total production exported increased from 10 percent to 11 percent.

Throughout the first half of 2010, Mexico has been the only major market in which U.S. beef exports have trailed last year’s pace. That trend continued through June, with exports to Mexico trailing January-June 2009 totals by 24 percent in terms of both volume (117,196 metric tons or 258.4 million pounds) and value ($380.4 million). Exports to Mexico have shown recent signs of improvement, however, with weekly export data for the last three weeks of July and the first week of August exceeding year-ago volumes.

Canada, the No. 2 market for U.S. beef, has been flat in terms of volume (70,957 metric tons or 156.4 million pounds) and 4 percent higher in value ($322 million) compared to the first half of 2009.

Elsewhere, U.S. beef exports are on a very powerful roll. In South Korea, export volume is nearly double the pace of 2009 at 50,221 metric tons (110.7 million pounds) and up nearly 130 percent in value to $225 million.

“The re-emergence of U.S. beef in Korea is very gratifying,” Seng said. “Just a few months ago, we were struggling to gain any traction in the foodservice and retail sectors in Korea. But we have worked very hard through our ‘Trust’ imaging campaign for U.S. beef and in building relationships with both beef buyers and consumers to regain consumer confidence, and this has created much more interest among the supermarket and restaurant trade. USMEF recently partnered with Lotte Mart, a major Korean supermarket chain, on a very successful reintroduction of T-bone steaks in Korea. That’s just one of many examples of our progress in this very critical and competitive market.”

Despite the continued 20-month age restriction on eligible cattle, beef exports to Japan maintained their steady growth. Exports totaled 51,677 metric tons (113.9 million pounds) valued at $270 million – an increase of 29 percent in both volume and value over the first half of 2009. Other key Asian markets also performed extremely well, including:
Vietnam, where exports were 30,762 metric tons (67.8 million pounds) valued at $111.7 million — an increase of 8 percent in volume and 23 percent in value over 2009.

In Hong Kong, exports reached 14,160 metric tons (31.2 million pounds) valued at $56 million. This is an increase of 74 percent in volume over last year’s pace, and more than double the value.

Exports to Taiwan were up 40 percent in volume and more than 50 percent in value, reaching 17,398 metric tons (38.4 million pounds) valued at $91 million.

In the Philippines, exports increased 66 percent in volume and nearly 50 percent in value, totaling 4,873 metric tons (10.7 million pounds) valued at $12.9 million.

Another shining star was Russia, where exports are up nearly 300 percent in volume (30,108 metric tons or 66.4 million pounds) and almost 1,000 percent in value ($87 million). With half the year remaining, Russia is already within 10 percent of its all-time, single-year value record for imports of U.S. beef – $95.3 million, in 2008.

USMEF Chairman Jim Peterson, a rancher from Buffalo, Mont., says the first-half export results are a source of optimism for U.S. cattle and hog producers.
“With the domestic economy still struggling, strong performance in the foreign markets is really a shot in the arm for the U.S. meat industry,” he said. “I am especially encouraged by the strong prices our products are commanding overseas and the excellent return this is delivering to U.S. farmers and ranchers.”

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