Exports of U.S. beef closed 2013 by eclipsing the $6 billion mark for the first time, setting a new annual value record. At the same time, pork exports declined below 2012’s record highs while lamb sales rose in value on lower volumes according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.
Beef exports continued their surge in December, surpassing year-ago totals by nearly 13 percent in volume and 20 percent in value led by growth in sales to Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong and Central/South America. Totals for 2013 were up 3 percent in volume to 2.58 billion pounds and 12 percent in value ($6.157 billion) – breaking the 2012 value record.
"2013 presented a new set of challenges," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "Last year, the closure of the Russian market to U.S. red meat products and our continued absence from the dynamic beef market in the People’s Republic of China stand out. And there were challenges in other markets, ranging from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia. The industry is focused on these challenges and USMEF is targeting the markets where we have the best chance of succeeding and creating a positive return for American producers and exporters."
The new milestone for U.S. beef export value also meant new records for the average export value per head: an annual record of $244.96 per head of fed slaughter, up $28.23 from 2012 and a new monthly record in December at $279.16, up $36.52 from December 2012.
U.S. beef exports in 2013 equated to 13.2 percent of total beef production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 10.4 percent of muscle cuts alone, up from 12.7 and 9.8 percent last year. The totals trended up in December, reaching 14.5 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
Beef sales to Japan closed the year up 54 percent in volume (517 million pounds) and 35 percent in value ($1.389 billion), pushed by a strong December showing that was more than 75 percent ahead of last year’s volume totals and 45 percent higher in value. Value totals for the year were just shy of 2003’s pre-BSE mark of $1.391 billion, although volume was just 62.5 percent of the 2003 total. Based on Japan’s import data, U.S. market share increased from 26 percent in 2012 to 36 percent in 2013, mainly regaining share from Australia.
Beef exports to Hong Kong set a new annual record as volume doubled to 286 million pounds and value increased 142 percent to $823.3 million. Central/South America also set new milestones with 92.8 million pounds (up 24 percent) valued at $156.4 million (up 17 percent).
Mexico’s one-month beef import total of 53.7 million pounds (up 69 percent) was the largest volume to that country since December of 2009, helping push sales to the No. 2 U.S. beef export market to 477 million pounds (up 12 percent) valued at $925.3 million (up 13 percent).
Complete export results are available on the USMEF statistics webpage.
Source: Beef Checkoff