US beef exports slide

By Flemmich Webb

- Last updated on GMT

US beef exports slide

Related tags Beef exports Saudi arabia Middle east Trade Russia Us meat export federation Japan

US beef exports fell in March compared to same time last year, but increased slightly in value, according to statistics released by the US Department for Agriculture (USDA).

March’s beef export volume of 83,612 metric tons (mt) was down 7% from a year ago but export value ($440.7m) was slightly higher. Beef exports finished the first quarter 4% lower in volume (256,587mt) but 5% up on last year’s value ($1.3bn).

Pork exports slumped by 18% over the same period in both volume (163,004mt) and value ($469.5m) due to market closure in Russia, an increase in domestic production in China and South Korea, and less demand in the top markets of Mexico and Japan. The value of first-quarter lamb exports increased by 16% ($7.4m) despite a 5% decline in volume (3,132mt).

Beef exports to Japan were buoyed by aggressive promotional campaigns, resulting in a March volume of 18,565mt, 80% higher than this time last year. Value was up 62% to $114.2m. Sales to the US’s number one export market, Canada, also saw a significant increase — up 20% to 44,305mt while value was up 32% to $284.2m.

Growth is evident in other markets, too. Beef exports to the Middle East recorded the best first quarter ever in terms of volume, increasing 10 per cent to 39,018mt though export value ($75.7m) fell 4% due in part to the continued lack of access to Saudi Arabia, which banned US beef following the April 2012 BSE case.

“We are definitely facing a challenging environment in several of our leading markets,”​ said US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and CEO Philip Seng.

“Some of these trends are anticipated, such as the lower demand for exports where domestic production is up and inventories are plentiful. But the trade impasse with Russia is very frustrating because we have lost access to a market where demand for our product is extremely strong. In other destinations we have seen the overall demand for high-quality proteins become sluggish, and USMEF is very focused on reversing this trend.”

Related topics Meat

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