Paced by sustained strong performances by the Japan and Hong Kong markets and a rebound in Mexico, U.S. beef exports in September remained ahead of 2012 levels, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Powered by a 37% jump in the volume of beef exports to Japan, 65% to Mexico and 102% to Hong Kong, U.S. beef exports rose nearly 5% in September and are up 1% for the year. The value of those exports drove the value of U.S. beef exports up 14% for the month and they remain 10% ahead of the 2012 pace.
"The industry aggressively pursued the opportunities available for U.S. product when market access was expanded in Japan and Hong Kong, and we are seeing exciting growth in both those markets," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.
For the month of September, the United States exported 94,698 metric tons of beef valued at $505.5 million, accounting for 13% of total beef production and 11% of muscle cuts. The export value per head of fed slaughter in September was $249, up from $227.65 a year ago.
Japan remains the top export market for U.S. beef in 2013. Exports to Japan are up 52% in volume and 35% in value for the year, accounting for 21.3% of the total volume of U.S. beef exports and 24.2% of the value.
The No. 2 volume market for U.S. beef, Mexico took larger volumes for four consecutive months, with September exports increasing nearly 65% in volume and 56% in value over year-ago levels. For the year, it is down just 1% in volume and even in value at $641.7 million.
Canada remains a strong market for U.S. beef, second in value and third in volume for the year at 133,776 metric tons valued at $912.9 million.
Other key beef export markets for 2013 include Hong Kong, which was up 96% in volume and 137% in value; and South Korea, which was down 19% in volume and 2% in value.
The Middle East, though down 3% in volume and 18% in value for the year, is also a notable beef market, along with Central/South America, which was up 24% in volume and 15% in value led by strong growth to Peru, Chile and Colombia. Taiwan was up 135% in volume and 195% in value.