Sunday, May 8, 2016

U.S. Red Meat Exports Move Higher in March

March exports of both U.S. beef and pork increased year-over-year in volume, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). March export values were lower than a year ago but trended upward, with both reaching a 2016 high.

Beef exports totaled 89,482 metric tons (mt) in March, up 3 percent from a year ago and pushing first-quarter volume to 254,986 mt – up 2 percent. March export value was $483.3 million, down 8 percent from a year ago but the highest since December. For the first quarter, export value was $1.36 billion – down 13 percent from the same period last year.

While lower beef prices pushed export values below year-ago levels in most destinations, Korea and Taiwan stood out as top performers. For the first quarter, exports to Korea increased 25 percent from a year ago in volume (34,638 mt) and were steady in value at $205 million. Exports to Taiwan increased 20 percent to 7,634 mt, while value climbed 3 percent to $66.4 million. These markets continue to show strong demand for high-quality chilled U.S. beef cuts in both the retail and foodservice sectors. Beef variety meat exports to Korea have also performed exceptionally well in 2016, with first-quarter exports more than doubling in volume (3,954 mt, +133 percent) and increasing 84 percent in value ($17.6 million).

First-quarter beef export volume to Japan improved 9 percent from a year ago to 52,841 mt, while value fell 7 percent to $300.4 million. Led by strong demand for U.S. beef tongues, beef variety meat exports to Japan were very strong in the first quarter, increasing 21 percent from a year ago in volume (9,877 mt) and 22 percent in value ($70.4 million).

Beef exports to the Middle East increased 13 percent in the first quarter to 27,641 mt, though value fell 11 percent to $60.3 million. Variety meat exports to Egypt increased 47 percent year-over-year in March, pushing the first-quarter total to 24,543 mt (+14 percent). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the leading market in the region for beef muscle cuts, with first-quarter exports increasing 8 percent year-over-year to 1,507 mt. Export value to the UAE fell 2 percent to $17.3 million.

Weakness of the Mexican peso and Canadian dollar continues to be a significant obstacle for U.S. beef. First-quarter exports to Canada declined 9 percent from a year ago in volume (26,246 mt) and 21 percent in value ($160.7 million). First-quarter exports to Mexico were down 14 percent (48,916 mt) and 23 percent ($219.4 million), respectively, though beef muscle cut exports to Mexico rebounded to some degree in March at 9,103 mt – the highest volume since December.

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation

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