Statistics for December, released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, confirm that 2010 was the best year ever for U.S. beef export value. A final total of $4.08 billion breaks the pre-BSE high from 2003 of $3.86 billion by more than 5% and exceeds the 2009 total by nearly one billion. Total volume was 1.067 million metric tons, an increase of 19% over 2009.
"We knew the groundwork was in place for an excellent recovery in 2010," said Philip Seng, President and CEO of USMEF. "But even the most optimistic forecasts underestimated the degree to which our beef exports would bounce back. Export value equated to $153.09 per head of fed slaughter, which is up 22% from 2009. Nearly 12% of total beef production was exported, compared to less than 10% in 2009."
Mexico was the only major destination for U.S. beef to show a decline in 2010, and even that market is showing substantial improvement. For the year, beef exports to Mexico were down 15% in volume and 10% in value. For the third consecutive month, December exports to Mexico exceeded their 2009 value, jumping by more than 15%.
Pork export value posted the second-best year on record during 2010 at $4.78 billion, falling just 2% short of the 2008 high and besting 2009 by more than 10%. Total volume of 1.918 million metric tons was an increase of 3% over the previous year. Export volume per head of slaughter equated to $43.72. The ratio of total production exported was 23.7%.
Based on USDA information, the U.S. Meat Export Federation says U.S. pork exports posted the best value year ever in Japan, reaching $1.65 billion. Volume was 434,923 metric tons, an increase of 3% over the previous year. Exports to Mexico reached a record $986.7 million, an increase of nearly 30% over the previous high set in 2009. Volume was up 8%.
Despite some bright spots, lamb exports were sluggish worldwide during 2010, dropping by 7% in volume and 25% in value compared to 2009. Exports to Canada and the Caribbean were down sharply, while exports to Mexico achieved a slight increase. The bright spots include the markets in the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Hong Kong, all of which posted substantial gains in both volume and value.