News Releases

Date: 7/5/2010

Title: Checkoff News: April Beef Export Value Well Above 2009 Levels

DENVER - While economic conditions remain difficult for U.S. beef in Mexico, exports are thriving in all other key global markets. For the year, Mexico remains the No. 1 market in terms of both volume (77,027 metric tons or  169.8 million pounds) and value ($246.9 million) but these totals are down by 25 percent and 27 percent respectively compared to the first four months of 2009.

Despite dramatic gains in many overseas markets, Canada remains the No. 2 destination for U.S. beef. Beef/beef variety meat exports to Canada are up 13 percent in volume (45,563 metric tons or 100.5 million pounds) and 17 percent in value ($199.4 million) compared to January-April 2009. In fact, April export value to Canada ($59.9 million) pulled within just 4 percent of Mexico ($62.2 million).

U.S. beef exports to Asia continued to grow at a torrid pace in April. Japan is the leading Asian market in 2010 in terms of both volume (26,740 metric tons or 58.9 million pounds) and value ($141.8 million). Each of these totals represents an increase of 34 percent over January-April 2009. But South Korea is right on Japan’s heels, with a volume of 26,321 metric tons (58 million pounds) valued at $112.3 million – increases of 39 percent and 58 percent, respectively, over last year.

The ASEAN region also performed very well in April, pushing its totals for the year up by 14 percent in volume (29,589 metric tons or 65.2 million pounds) and 16 percent in value ($97.9 million). Interestingly, this increase was achieved despite fairly flat results in Vietnam – by far the largest ASEAN market. The primary growth drivers were the Philippines and Indonesia, the No. 2 and No. 3 markets in the region.
Taiwan appears to have shaken off any lingering controversy over the recent reintroduction of U.S. bone-in beef, and may be headed for another record performance in 2010. Exports to Taiwan were up 69 percent in volume (11,533 metric tons or 25.4 million pounds) and 79 percent in value ($60 million).
Hong Kong has also achieved rapid growth this year, nearly tripling its imports of U.S. beef in terms of both volume (9,099 metric tons or 20.1 million pounds) and value ($35.6 million).

“The growth our beef industry is achieving in Asia right now is extremely encouraging,” says Jim Peterson, a rancher from Buffalo Mont., and chair of the U.S. Meat Export Federation that contracts to manage the beef checkoff’s foreign marketing efforts. “Despite the market access limitations we still face in several of these markets, their appetite for U.S. beef is clearly on the rise. As a cattleman, it’s really gratifying to see our exports to Asia gaining so much momentum.”

Impressive growth numbers are not limited to Asia, however. Exports to the Middle East continued their strong run, increasing 24 percent in volume and 45 percent in value over January-April 2009. Led by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, a growing percentage of U.S. beef exports to the Middle East are muscle cuts. But beef variety meat exports are showing signs of a strong price recovery in the region, as they were up only slightly in volume but up by nearly 25 percent in value through April.
Russia has also expanded its purchases of U.S. beef to include a much higher percentage of muscle cuts, and this was illustrated clearly in the January-April results. Exports to Russia were up 173 percent in volume (19,525 metric tons or 43 million pounds) but an even more remarkable 613 percent in value ($47.5 million) over 2009.

In contrast to the downturn in Mexico, exports are performing very well in other Western Hemisphere markets. Beef/beef variety meat exports to the Dominican Republic were up more than 60 percent in volume and value, while Jamaica was up more than 30 percent. Exports to Central/South America were up by 47 percent in volume and 54 percent in value, with variety meat exports to Peru and Colombia accounting for much of the growth.

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