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USMEF: Beef exports trend lower in September

Beef

Beef exports continued to struggle compared to last year’s record totals but showed increasing strength in Western Hemisphere markets, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Posted on Nov 16 ,00:15

USMEF: Beef exports trend lower in September

September beef exports totaled 98,757 mt, down 15% from a year ago and the lowest of 2023, while value fell 12% to $795.5 million. For January through September, exports were 13% lower in volume (980,100 mt) and down 18% in value ($7.49 billion). 

"U.S. beef continues to face tough sledding in our Asian markets, where weakness in major currencies persist and consumer confidence remains guarded,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “In the past few weeks we have seen several Asian trading partners step up efforts to stimulate their economies and ease pressure on consumers. In the meantime, bright spots for U.S. beef continue to emerge in the Western Hemisphere, led by strong demand in Mexico".

U.S. beef exports to Mexico continued to shine in September, climbing 7% from a year ago to 16,435 mt, with value up 17% to $93.9 million. Through the first three quarters of the year, shipments to Mexico increased 15% to 152,943 mt, valued at $867.4 million (up 24%). Mexico is the leading volume destination for U.S. beef variety meat, and these shipments increased at a similar rate, climbing 16% to 79,312 mt, valued at $227.4 million (up 22%).

Strong growth in Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua pushed September beef exports to Central America 24% above last year at 1,779 mt, while value soared 49% to $13.9 million. For January through September, exports to the region pulled within 1% of last year’s pace in both volume (15,040 mt) and value ($105.4 million), led by growth in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. 

Beef export volume to Canada trended slightly higher in September, up 2% from a year ago to 8,176 mt. But export value increased very impressively, climbing 23% to $79.7 million. January-September exports to Canada increased 1% to 78,951 mt, valued at $663.8 million (up 4%). 

Other January-September results for U.S. beef exports include: 

  • Beef exports to Africa, most of which are variety meat items, have rebounded strongly in 2023. Led by a near-doubling of shipments to South Africa, exports reached 16,978 mt through September, up 56% from a year ago, with value up 25% to $20.5 million. In addition to South Africa, exports trended higher to Cote D’Ivoire, Gabon and Morocco. 
  • Although beef shipments to the Dominican Republic edged lower in September, exports are still on a record pace in 2023. Through September, exports to the DR increased 4% to 7,286 mt, with value up 10% to $80.6 million. 
  • Beef exports to South America have generally trended lower in 2023, with only shipments to Peru posting a year-over-year increase. But exports to Colombia showed renewed momentum in September, climbing 80% from a year ago to 1,012 mt. September export value soared 151% to $5.4 million – the highest this year. Beef exports to Peru were lower in September but January-September shipments remained 18% ahead of last year’s pace at 5,842 mt, with value up 6% to $23.7 million. 
  • September beef exports were lower to the ASEAN region but increased to leading volume market Indonesia. Shipments to Indonesia increased 22% to 1,658 mt, while value edged slightly higher to $7.6 million. Nearly 40% of exports to Indonesia are beef variety meat. 
  • With the exception of Hong Kong, September beef exports to major Asian markets were lower across the board, falling well below last year’s large totals in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan. Korea remains the largest destination for U.S. beef exports, but January-September shipments to Korea were 15% below last year’s record pace at 188,652 mt. Export value for Korea was down 26% to $1.57 billion. Exports to Japan fell 21% to 186,943 mt, with value down 26% to $1.39 billion. Shipments to China followed a similar trend, down 23% in volume (146,327 mt) and 27% in value ($1.23 billion) from the record pace of 2022. Exports to Taiwan, which had regained some momentum in the summer months, also took a step back in September, pushing January-September shipments 7% below last year at 48,081 mt, valued at $484.8 million (down 20%). Australia’s exports have rebounded sharply in 2023, with shipments through October increasing by 24% year-over-year. This growth has mostly been in grass-fed beef, as grain-fed exports were up a more modest 6%. Australia’s exports increased strongly to China, Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia, but continued to decline to Japan. 
  • Beef export value per head of fed slaughter was strong in September, down just 2% from a year ago to $398.73. The January-September average was $396.03, down 15% from the record pace of 2022. Exports accounted for 13.4% of total September beef production and 11.1% for muscle cuts, down from 14.2% and 12.2%, respectively, a year ago. The January-September ratios were 14.2% of total production (down from 15.4%) and 11.9% for muscle cuts (down from 13.2%).  

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