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October Another Stellar Month
for U.S. Pork, Beef Exports

Total beef exports are up 9% in 2017.

U.S. pork exports remained ahead of last year’s record volume pace, and beef exports are poised to break $7 billion this year for only the second time, according to October export results released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

October pork exports were the largest since May, totaling 211,592 metric tons (mt), up 5% from a year ago, valued at $565.4 million, up 8%. Through the first 10 months of the year, pork exports increased 8% in volume (2.005 million mt) and 10% in value ($5.28 billion) from the same period last year.

Exports accounted for 25.4% of total pork production in October (steady with last year) and 21.6% for muscle cuts only (up slightly from a year ago). For January through October, these ratios increased about 1 percentage point from a year ago to 26.4% of total production and 22% for muscle cuts. October export value averaged $51.41 per head slaughtered, up 9% from a year ago and the highest since July. Through the first 10 months of the year, per-head export value was $52.64, up 7%.

Beef exports reached 111,287 mt in October, up 5% from a year ago, valued at $662 million, up 18%. These were the second-largest monthly totals of 2017, trailing only August. For January through October, exports totaled 1.038 million mt, up 9% year-over-year, valued at $5.93 billion — up 16% from a year ago and slightly ahead of the record value pace established in 2014.

Beef exports accounted for 13% of total production in October, the highest since July but down from 13.9% last year. The percentage of muscle cuts exported was steady with last year at 10.7%. For January through October, beef exports accounted for 12.8% of total production (down from 13.3% last year) and 10.2% for muscle cuts (steady with last year).

October beef export value averaged $301.88 per head of fed slaughter, up 12% from a year ago and the highest since December 2016. January-October export value averaged $279.85 per head, up 10%.

Japan, Korea, Hong Kong drive outstanding beef export value growth
Japan continued to be the pacesetter for U.S. beef exports in October, with volume climbing 19% from a year ago to 23,981 mt and value up 23% to $147.1 million. This pushed January-October volume to 260,517 mt (up 22%) valued at $1.59 billion — up 29% and already setting a new single-year record. Chilled beef continues to drive export growth to Japan, with chilled exports up 40% in volume (124,699 mt) and 43% in value ($918.8 million).

“The U.S. beef industry has really broadened its reach in Japan, expanding the range of cuts offered and the retail and foodservice venues in which they are featured,” Halstrom said. “But USMEF remains concerned about market access barriers in Japan, as we face significantly higher tariffs than our main competitor, Australia, and import safeguards that could hinder further growth.”

Exports to South Korea continued to climb in October, up 2% in volume (17,224 mt) and 24% in value ($122.4 million) from a year ago. Through October, exports totaled 148,998 mt (up 7%) valued at $979.3 million — 20% above last year’s record pace. Demand for U.S. chilled beef is especially strong in Korea’s retail sector, with chilled beef exports up 88% to 36,773 mt valued at $329 million, up 93%.

Other January-October highlights for U.S. beef exports include:

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Editor’s Note: This article is provided by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

  • Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
  • One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.







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