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USMEF: Strong month for beef export value in February

Beef

Beef export volume was slightly lower year-over-year, but export value climbed by 10%. Beef exports reached 103,883 mt in February, down 1% from a year ago, but export value increased 10% to $830.4 million. January-February exports were also down 1% to 203,647 mt, with export value climbing 9% to $1.59 billion.

Posted on Apr 10 ,00:38

USMEF: Strong month for beef export value in February

"Tight beef supplies are definitely a challenge for exporters, and that situation isn’t going to change anytime soon", said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "But on a positive note, we are seeing more opportunities for underutilized beef cuts, including the round, shoulder clod and variety meat, in the global marketplace. Demand is strong throughout the Western Hemisphere and the foodservice and hospitality sectors are finally gaining some momentum in key Asian markets such as Korea, where the post-COVID recovery has been slower than anticipated".

Beef export value climbs in many key regions

Mexico continues to be bright spot for U.S. beef exports, with February shipments climbing 27% from a year ago to 19,760 mt. Export value soared 32% to $120.5 million – the seventh highest on record. Through February, exports to Mexico increased 21% in volume (39,871 mt) and 25% in value ($233.3 million), including impressive growth for both muscle cuts and variety meat. Bolstered by the strong peso, Mexico’s demand for U.S. beef has strengthened at both foodservice and retail. 

While February beef export volume to Korea was lower than a year ago (down 7% to 18,074 mt), export value climbed 12% to $172.3 million. January-February exports followed a similar trend, falling 4% to 36,863 mt while value increased 12% to $342.8 million. The Korean government recently announced measures aimed at easing food price increases, which have been especially sharp for fruits and vegetables. Rising prices have made Korea’s post-COVID foodservice recovery even more challenging, but U.S. beef continues to find success in the home meal replacement and restaurant meal replacement segments.

February beef exports to the Caribbean were the largest on record at 2,955 mt, up 25% from a year ago, while value was fourth highest at $24.5 million (up 24%). Exports to the Dominican Republic were the fifth highest on record in both volume (993 mt, up 22%) and value ($10.8 million, up 40%). Through February, shipments to the Caribbean increased 20% from a year ago in volume (5,639 mt) and 15% in value ($45.3 million), led by muscle cut growth in the Netherlands Antilles and the Leeward-Windward Islands and strong variety meat demand in Trinidad and Tobago. 

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

  • After a slow January, beef exports to Taiwan improved significantly in February, climbing 15% from a year ago (and 58% from January) to 5,091 mt. Export value was $56.3 million, up 36% from a year ago and 56% higher than in January. The U.S. is Taiwan’s dominant supplier of chilled beef, and USMEF continues to familiarize importers, distributors and consumers with alternative cuts that offer a high-quality dining experience at affordable prices. 
  • Led by a rebound in Egypt’s demand for beef livers and strong muscle cut growth in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, exports to the Middle East increased 48% from a year ago through February, reaching 9,220 mt. Export value climbed 52% to $39.3 million. While safety concerns in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden have not dramatically impacted U.S. beef volumes entering the region, the situation has increased shipping costs and transit times and heightened buyers’ concerns about product availability. 
  • Beef exports to South America climbed 23% from a year ago through February, reaching 3,734 mt, while value increased 8% to $18.9 million. Muscle cut exports to Colombia had slowed the previous month but rebounded in February, while beef variety meat demand strengthened in both Peru and Chile. 
  • Fueled by growth in Guatemala and Panama, January-February beef exports to Central America increased 16% from a year ago to 3,957 mt. Export value climbed 15% to $27.2 million.  
  • February beef exports to China were slightly below last year in volume (15,219 mt, down 2%) but still trended higher in value at $133.8 million (up 2%). Through February, exports to China were down 7% to just under 27,000 mt, with value down 2% to $235.9 million. After a 2023 rebound, beef exports to Hong Kong continue to strengthen this year, with January-February exports up 13% in volume (5,655 mt) and 35% in value ($65.9 million). 
  • While Japan is the leading volume destination for U.S. beef in 2024, exports through February were down 11% year-over-year to 41,280 mt. Export value was down 2% to $301.2 million. Beef variety meats - mostly tongues and skirts - are a bright spot in Japan, with export volume up 4% to 7,284 mt and value climbing 22% to just under $10 million. 
  • January-February exports of beef variety meat totaled 46,381 mt, up 8% from a year ago, while value climbed 10% to $177.4 million. In addition to the aforementioned growth in Mexico, Japan, Egypt, Peru, Chile and Trinidad and Tobago, volumes also trended higher to China, Korea, Canada, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Guatemala and El Salvador. 
  • February beef export value equated to $412.79 per head of fed slaughter, up 5% from a year ago. The January-February average was $385.78 per head, up 7%. Exports accounted for 14% of total February beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 12.4%, respectively, in February 2023. The January-February ratios were 13.3% of total production (down from 13.6% a year ago) and 11.1% for muscle cuts (down from 11.6%). 

February lamb exports well above year-ago totals

U.S. lamb exports followed a strong January with another robust performance in February, climbing 11% from a year ago to 270 mt. Export value increased 18% to $1.5 million. Through February, lamb exports increased 19% from a year ago to 573 mt, with value up 34% to $3.2 million, led by growth in the Bahamas, the Leeward-Windward Islands and Canada. Exports to Mexico trended lower in volume but still climbed 26% in value to just under $600,000. 

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