USMEF: Beef Exports Below Record Pace of 2022


Beef exports totaled 115,107 mt in June, down 12% from a year ago and slightly below the May volume. Export value was $909.5 million, down 13% year-over-year but the highest since October and 4% above the value posted in May. First-half beef exports were 10% below last year’s record pace at 669,176 mt. Export value was just under $5 billion – down 19% from a year ago but still 8% above the first half of 2021.

Posted on Aug 15 ,00:10

USMEF: Beef Exports Below Record Pace of 2022

"It was a challenging first half for beef exports, especially when compared to the blistering pace established a year ago", said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. "But we are encouraged to see that exports are still accounting for a consistently high percentage of total beef production, and variety meat exports have held up very well considering the decline in U.S. slaughter. These metrics continue to illustrate the important contribution of exports in maximizing beef carcass value.” 

U.S. beef’s presence in Mexico continued to expand in June, with shipments climbing 20% from a year ago to 18,005 mt, while value soared 33% to $97.9 million. First-half exports to Mexico were 14% above last year’s pace at 100,171 mt, while value increased 19% to $557.5 million. Mexico is the largest volume destination for U.S. beef variety meat, with first-half exports increasing 16% to 52,659 mt. Variety meat value climbed 21% to $148.6 million. 

While June exports of beef variety meat were below last year’s large volume (25,683 mt, down 3%), export value increased 1% to $104.5 million – the highest since October. In addition to the increase to Mexico (see above), variety meat exports more than doubled year-over-year to South Africa (1,733 mt, up 126%), South Korea (1,684 mt, up 119%), and Indonesia (656 mt, up 112%) and increased sharply to Gabon, Angola, Central America and the Dominican Republic. First-half exports of beef variety meat were 5% below last year at 143,294 mt, while value fell 12% to $552.7 million. 

For the second consecutive month, beef exports to Taiwan performed exceptionally well in June. Exports climbed 27% year-over-year to 7,258 mt – the largest since April 2022 and the third highest on record. Export value was also the highest since April 2022 at $67.7 million, up 3% from a year ago. First-half exports to Taiwan were 9% below last year at 33,792 mt, valued at $327.6 million (down 26%), but the recent rebound in demand is very encouraging. 

Other first-half export results for U.S. beef include: 

  • As noted above, beef exports to South Africa continued to strengthen in June. Shipments consisted entirely of variety meat, climbing 126% above last year to 1,733 mt. June export value was $1.7 million (up 7%). First-half exports to South Africa were 134% above last year at 10,413 mt, with value up 88% to $11.1 million. 
  • Beef exports to Canada also followed a strong May performance with a solid June total of 10,165 mt, up 13% from a year ago. June export value increased 20% to $90.3 million. First-half exports to Canada were steady with last year at 51,964 mt, valued at $417.6 million (down 1%). 
  • Exports to leading market Korea totaled 21,410 mt in June, down 14% from a year ago, while export value fell 19% to $186.9 million. First-half exports to Korea were 11% below last year’s record pace at 133,775 mt, valued at $1.09 billion (down 28%). 
  • First-half beef exports to China/Hong Kong totaled 119,810 mt, down 12% from a year ago, while value declined 17% to $1.04 billion. But exports to Hong Kong have strengthened in 2023, partially bolstered by a long-awaited uptick in tourism and business travel. First-half exports to Hong Kong increased 28% to 19,526 mt, valued at $201.3 million (up 10%).   
  • June beef exports to Japan remained significantly below last year but improved from the previous month. June shipments totaled 20,685 mt, down 25%, while export value was $166.4 million – down 20% from a year ago but notably higher (up 21%) than in May. First-half exports to Japan were down 17% year-over-year to 129,044 mt, valued at $924 million (down 26%). 
  • Despite taking a step back in June, first-half beef exports to the European Union, including product for use by cruise lines, increased 8% from a year ago in both volume (10,890 mt) and value ($143.2 million). 
  • The Dominican Republic took larger beef volumes in June (up 3% to 740 mt), bringing the first half total to 4,894 mt, up 6%. Export value climbed 10% to $53 million, reflecting strong demand in the tourism sector. 
  • Beef export value equated to $407.12 per head of fed slaughter in June, down 9% from a year ago. The first-half average was $394.39, down 17%. Exports accounted for 14.3% of total June beef production, down from 15.5% a year ago, while the ratio of muscle cuts exported fell only slightly to 12%. First-half ratios were 14.4% of total production and 12.2% for muscle cuts, each down about one percentage point from the first half of 2022.   

Lamb exports trend lower, fall below year-ago level

After a strong start in 2023, exports of U.S. lamb muscle cuts trended sharply lower in the second quarter. June exports were just 109 mt, down 56% from a year ago, while value fell 45% to $1.54 million.

First-half exports were down 5% in volume (1,067 mt) and 6% in value ($6.35 million). Exports trended higher to the Netherlands Antilles, the Bahamas, Guatemala and Canada, and volume increased slightly to Mexico.

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