U.S. beef muscle cuts plus variety meat exports remain on a pace roughly equal to last year, totaling 358,190 metric tons (789.7 million pounds) valued at $1.2 billion through May, according to USDA data analysis by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). This represents a 1% increase in volume and a 3% decline in value compared to the same period in 2008.
Individual market results have been extremely mixed, due in large part to the varied impact of the global economic recession. Despite limited market access for U.S. beef, Japan has increased its imports by 21% in volume to 29,198 metric tons (64.4 million pounds) and 22% in value ($152.6 million) over last year. Though Mexico remains the No. 1 destination for U.S. beef exports, a struggling economy – which suffered a further setback due to A-H1N1 influenza – has led to a 21% decline in U.S. beef exports there for a total of 128,875 metric tons (284.1 million pounds) and a 24% drop in value to $419.1 million.
In addition to Japan, beef exports have increased sharply to Vietnam (up 86% in volume and 124% in value over January-May of last year) and Hong Kong (up 41% in volume and 23% in value).
Other markets showing declines include Canada (down 11% in volume and 16% in value from 2008), Taiwan (down 10% in volume and value) and the Philippines (down 38% in volume and 32% in value). Russia's imports of U.S. beef have increased 22% in volume but have declined 46% in value, as the market has shifted away from the U.S. muscle meats it was purchasing in large quantities last year and is now importing mostly variety meats.
Complete export statistics for January 2009 through May 2009 are available online.
To read more about pork exports, click here.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, corn and soybean checkoff programs.