U.S. beef exports set new records in August with export value topping $750 million for the first time, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). August pork exports were fairly steady with last year’s volume, but retaliatory duties in key markets continued to pressure pork export value.
August beef exports totaled 119,850 metric tons (mt), up 7 percent from a year ago, valued at $751.7 million – up 11 percent year-over-year and easily exceeding the previous record of $722.1 million reached in May 2018. For January through August, beef exports totaled 899,300 mt, up 9 percent from a year ago, while value climbed 18 percent to $5.51 billion.
August exports accounted for 13.2 percent of total beef production, up from 12.5 percent a year ago. For beef muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.2 percent, up from 10.4 percent last year. For January through August, exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total beef production and 11.1 percent for muscle cuts – up from 12.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively, last year. Beef export value averaged $320.92 per head of fed slaughter in August, up 11 percent from a year ago. The January-August average was $318.66 per head, up 16 percent.
August pork export volume was down 1 percent from last year at 182,372 mt, while export value fell 3 percent to $494.1 million. Pork muscle cuts fared better in August, increasing 5 percent to 148,736 mt, but value still declined 1 percent to $414.7 million. Pork variety meat exports declined sharply in August in both volume (33,636 mt, down 20 percent) and value ($79.4 million, down 15 percent).
U.S. pork currently faces retaliatory duties in two markets: China and Mexico. China’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts and variety meat increased from 12 to 37 percent in April and from 37 to 62 percent in July. Mexico’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts increased from zero to 10 percent in June and jumped to 20 percent in July (pork variety meats continue to enter Mexico duty-free). Beginning in June, Mexico also imposed a 15 percent duty on sausages and a 20 percent duty on some prepared or preserved hams and shoulders.
Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation
Artwork: Herd of Texas Longhorn Cattle in Southern Utah Mountains