U.S. beef exports continue to make gains this year, and August was a particularly strong month, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Overall, beef exports during August topped those from August 2012 by 5 percent in volume and 16 percent in value. Exports totaled 105,544 metric tons valued at $563.3 million. For the first eight months of 2012, beef exports are up 1 percent in volume and 10 percent in value to 767,017 metric tons valued at $4.01 billion, according to USMEF.

Beef exports up during AugustAlso according to USMEF, beef exports added $253.87 per head in value to all finished cattle marketed during August, up $46.16 from last year. On a related note, the Choice beef cutout last week finished at $201.07 and fed steers averaged at $132.36 per hundredweight, a record high.

Our top three beef-export markets, Japan, Mexico and Canada,  performed well in August, and exports to Taiwan have improved. The Russian market remains closed to U.S. beef, as does China.  

Expanded access for American beef in Japan helped sustain growth which amounted to a 36.5 percent hike in volume and 13.3 percent in value in August. For the year, U.S. exports to Japan are up 53 percent in volume and 38 percent in value.
Totals for Mexico in August rose 11.2 percent in volume and 24 percent in value, while August exports to Canada were up 9.3 percent in volume and 7.6 percent in value.

Other top-performing beef markets in August included:

  • Hong Kong: Up 67 percent in volume (11,904 metric tons) and 142 percent in value ($78.2 million).
  • South Korea: up 35.8 percent in value ($47.8 million) on slightly (2.6 percent) lower volume of 7,646 metric tons.
  • Taiwan: up 578 percent in volume (3,092 metric tons) and 684 percent in value ($24.9 million) as the rebuilding of the U.S. beef market there continues since technical issues regarding feed additives were partially resolved late last year.
  • Central/South America: up 13 percent (3,747 metric tons) in volume and 24 percent in value ($14.7 million), led by strong growth to Chile: up 37.7 percent in volume (1,139 metric tons) and 43.1 percent in value ($6.6 million).

Pork exports were relatively flat in August, with a slight decline in volume and a 1 percent increase in value over a year ago. For the year, pork exports were down 4.6 percent in volume and 4.5 percent in value.