Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation
December statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) confirm that 2010 was the best year ever for U.S. beef export value. A final total of $4.08 billion breaks the pre-BSE high from 2003 of $3.86 billion by more than 5 percent and exceeds the 2009 total by nearly $1 billion. Total volume was 1.067 million metric tons, an increase of 19 percent over 2009.
Pork export value posted the second-best year on record at $4.78 billion, falling just 2 percent short of the 2008 high and besting 2009 by more than 10 percent. Total volume was 1.918 million metric tons - an increase of 3 percent over the previous year.
What a difference a year makes - a $1 billion jump in beef export value
The global economic downturn of 2009 was particularly hard on beef exports - not only for the United States, but for all exporting countries. But despite an overall drop in global demand, U.S. beef maintained or increased its market share in most key markets and was well-positioned for a rebound in 2010.
"We knew the groundwork was in place for an excellent recovery in 2010," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "But even the most optimistic forecasts underestimated the degree to which our beef exports would bounce back. Increasing beef export value by almost one-third, and nearly $1 billion, is a critical achievement for the U.S. beef industry and a substantial boost for U.S. producers."
Export value equated to $153.09 per head of fed slaughter, which is up 22 percent from 2009 and is 12 percent higher than in 2003. Nearly 12 percent of total beef production was exported, compared to less than 10 percent in 2009.
Mexico was the only major destination for U.S. beef to show a decline in 2010, and even that market is showing substantial improvement. For the year, beef exports to Mexico were down 15 percent in volume (247,614 metric tons) and 10 percent in value ($819.1 million). For the third consecutive month, December exports to Mexico exceeded their 2009 value - jumping by more than 15 percent to $83.6 million.
Other 2010 market highlights for U.S. beef include:
- Exports to Canada increased 7 percent in volume (153,177 metric tons) and 15 percent in value ($733.4 million - a new record) over 2009. Canada remains the No. 2 market for U.S. beef in both volume and value.
- Japan is the third-largest market for U.S. beef, but is gaining ground quickly in terms of value. In 2010, exports to Japan increased by 36 percent in both volume (124,561 metric tons) and value ($639.5 million).
- South Korea represents one of the great turnaround stories of 2010, with exports more than doubling in volume (112,759 metric tons) and climbing by 140 percent in value ($517.9 million).
- Exports to Russia also doubled in volume to 57,453 metric tons and nearly quadrupled in value to a record $152.4 million. The surge in value was due to a tremendous increase in muscle cut exports to Russia, which grew by more than 500 percent. But variety meat exports to Russia also performed well, increasing by 26 percent in volume and 90 percent in value.
- A similar scenario took place in the Middle East, where variety meat exports jumped by 19 percent in volume and 40 percent in value, but muscle cut exports rose by 87 percent and 113 percent, respectively. In total, exports to the region increased by 36 percent in volume (134,510 metric tons) and 77 percent in value ($261.2 million - a new record).
- Taiwan shattered its previous record for export value by more than 50 percent, reaching $216.3 million. The market has cooled substantially in January and February, however, due to market access restrictions.
- Despite a down year for Vietnam, the ASEAN region posted an export value record of $232.3 million, led by strong results in Indonesia and the Philippines.
- Exports to Hong Kong also set a value record of $158.2 million, an increase of 87 percent over 2009.
- In the first full-year of a duty-free quota in the European Union, exports increased substantially. Through November, high-quality beef exported under the quota totaled 10,600 metric tons valued at just under $100 million.
- U.S. beef exports also set new records in the Caribbean and Central-South America regions.
Solid year for U.S. pork includes new records in top two markets
U.S. pork exports posted the best value year ever in Japan, reaching $1.65 billion. This was the third consecutive year in which exports to Japan exceeded $1.5 billion, with value jumping 7 percent over 2009 and 6 percent over the previous record in 2008. Volume was 434,923 metric tons - an increase of 3 percent over the previous year.
Pork exports have never broken the $1 billion mark for a single year in any market other than Japan, but came very close in 2010. Exports to Mexico reached a record $986.7 million - an increase of nearly 30 percent over the previous high set in 2009. Volume was up 8 percent over the previous year to 545,732 metric tons.
"USMEF is extremely proud of the success U.S. pork has achieved in both of these mainstay markets," Seng said. "Japan is a remarkable market that provides outstanding returns for U.S. producers. But it is exceptionally competitive, and we have to stay very aggressive to have any chance of remaining the market share leader. With Mexico, we are very pleased with the way demand help up in the face of rising pork prices. Consumers there truly appreciate the quality of U.S. pork, and it performed very well in both the retail and processing sectors."
Export volume per head of slaughter equated to $43.72 compared to $38.44 in 2009. The ratio of total production exported was 23.7 percent compared to 22.5 percent in 2009.
Other market highlights for U.S. pork include:
- Canada held strong as the third-largest value market for U.S. pork, setting new records for both volume and value. Value increased 19 percent to $618.2 million, while volume was up 8 percent to 183,068 metric tons.
- Exports to China rebounded after being absent for much of the previous year, increasing 112 percent in volume (130,675 metric tons) and 73 percent in value ($228.5 million).
- Led by strong demand in the Philippines and Singapore, exports to the ASEAN region were record-large - up 12 percent in volume (66,657 metric tons) and 26 percent in value ($134.6 million).
- Exports to Australia were also record-large, reaching 52,426 metric tons valued at $148.2 million. This was an increase of 8 percent in volume and 29 percent in value.
- Led by Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia, exports to the Central-South America region set new records in both volume (up 32 percent to 59,405 metric tons) and value (up 41 percent to $141.3 million).
- Exports to the Caribbean also posted a record-breaking performance, increasing 6 percent in volume (42,797 metric tons) and 19 percent in value ($92.6 million).
Pork exports to South Korea were down in 2010, due in part to high domestic inventories through much of the year. This is expected to change in 2011, however, as the country deals with a severe foot-and-mouth disease crisis in its swine herd. Korea's pork import activity has already picked up, and will be further bolstered by a recently-announced, duty-free quota.
"This is a very unfortunate situation in Korea, so distributors there are in need of product and consumers need relief from soaring prices," Seng said. "So we will be working to make sure that U.S. pork fills a substantial portion of the new quota."
Lamb exports down worldwide, but bright spots emerge
U.S. lamb exports were sluggish in 2010, dropping by 7 percent in volume (10,682 metric tons) and 25 percent in value ($20.6 million) compared to 2009. Exports to Canada and the Caribbean were down sharply, while exports to Mexico achieved a slight increase. Markets showing promise in 2010 included the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Hong Kong - all of which posted substantial gains in both volume and value.
Seng notes that while the 2010 results for beef and pork exports were outstanding, he still sees room for substantial growth in the coming year.
"While U.S. red meat exports are either breaking or approaching new record-high, we still see opportunities for growth - especially in well-targeted niches," he said. "Over the past year, USMEF has worked to identify opportunities for export growth in key markets, and we are beginning to see the results of those efforts in retail, foodservice and further processing sectors across the globe."
Complete export results for all markets are available online.