Exports of U.S. beef enjoyed their best month of the year in June, rising both in volume and value over 2012 levels, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
The exports were up 8% in volume to 101,720 metric tons and 21% in value to $562.3 million.
"There is no question that challenges persist, such as the continued closure of the Russian market, but we are seeing positive signs from key markets, including Japan and Mexico, that are vital trading partners for our industry," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.
Another positive growth metric in June was the per-head export value recorded for beef. Beef export value was a record $260.21 per head of fed slaughter, a $56.31 increase over June of 2012.
Top performing beef export markets in June by volume were Japan (+66%), Hong Kong (+156%), Mexico (+14%), Taiwan (+400%) and Central/South America (+62%). The 5,903 metric tons of beef exported to Russia last June made it the No. 6 market for U.S. beef, causing big impacts due to the absence of the market.
"We are focused on the markets where we can take advantage of opportunities, such as expanded access for U.S. beef in Japan, the rebound in Taiwan and continued growth of the Hong Kong and Central/South America markets," said Seng. "At the same time, we continue relationship-building in Russia for when that market reopens, and stand ready to capitalize on the growing demand for high-quality beef in China when access can be restored for the first time since 2003."
For the year, U.S. beef exports are down 1% in volume at 542,560 metric tons but 6% higher in value at $2.83 billion. Total beef exports – muscle cuts plus variety meat – accounted for 13.6% of U.S. beef production in June, up from 12% last year. For the year they account for 12.4% of production, about the same as last year.
June beef muscle cut exports accounted for 11% of production, up from 10% in June 2012. For the first half of the year, exports accounted for 9.6% of beef muscle cut production, about the same as last year.