US Beef Exports Declined Compared to During Summer


A couple of days ago we offered an update on US beef import statistics and outlook for next year, writes Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.

The official export data for October was released by USDA-FAS on Thursday (6 December) afternoon and what follows is a brief recap of the main highlights and some of our thoughts on it:

US beef exports have declined compared to where they were during the summer but they still remain above year ago levels. Total exports of fresh/frozen and cooked beef in October were 89,977 MT, 4.7 percent higher than a year ago.

The value of US beef and veal exports in October was $645 million, some $56 million or 9.4 percent higher than a year ago. Demand for US beef in the world market has been very strong throughout the year and the increase in the value of beef export sales is the best evidence of that.

South Korea and Japan have been driving the increase in US beef exports for much of the year and October was no different. Exports to South Korea were 19,010 MT, 2,719 MT or 17 percent higher than a year ago.

Beef exports to Japan were 22,043 MT, 2,077 MT or 10 percent higher than last year. Mexico is the third largest market for US beef and October exports to that market were 12,633 MT, 4 percent higher than a year ago.

However, the value of US beef exports to Mexico was up 14 percent compared to last year’s levels. In addition to buying a fair amount of US beef muscle cuts and trim, Mexico is also the biggest buyer of US beef variety meats (offal, etc).

October US variety meat exports were 27,865 MT, up 10 percent compared to last year. The increase in variety meat exports added an additional $9.4 million to the overall increase in US beef and beef variety meat exports for the month of October.

The volume of beef variety meat exports to Japan in October was about half of what went to the Mexican market. And yet, the value of those exports to Japan was around $30.8 million compared to $21.4 million from Mexico.

Japan is the most valuable market for US beef variety meats and in October along the value of exports to Japan was $3.5 million (+13 percent) higher than last year. But strong as US beef exports have been YTD, the pace of export sales has been slowing down.

Outstanding beef export sales for the current marketing year are up 29 percent but this is almost all due to outstanding sales to Hog Kong. Given current US and China trade issues, it remains to be seen if those Hong Kong orders will be delivered.

As for next year, outstanding beef sales are down 12 percent, with outstanding sales to Japan down 29 percent year-on-year. Current US beef export sales numbers suggest possibly lower US beef export volumes in Q1 of next year.

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