U.S. beef exports in July increased 1% from the previous year, with export value at $720.4 million down slightly, but still the seventh-highest monthy total on record.
January-July beef exports were down 2% from a year ago in volume (766,607 mt) while export value ($4.75 billion) was slightly below last year’s record pace, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $308.47 in July, down 7% from a year ago, while January-July export value averaged $311.51 per head, down 2%.
July exports accounted for 14.4% of total U.S. beef production and 11.8% for muscle cuts only, down from 15.1% and 12.9%, respectively, last year.
South Korea continues to be the growth pacesetter for U.S. beef exports, as July volume reached 25,104 mt (up 6% from a year ago). Export value was $181.3 million, up 7% from a year ago and breaking the record set the previous month.
For January through July, beef exports to Korea climbed 11% in volume (151,983 mt) while export value ($1.1 billion) exceeded last year’s record pace by 14%.
“The Korean market is a remarkable success story and a blueprint for what U.S. beef can achieve when consumers are not shouldering such a heavy tariff burden,” said USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom. “With the duty rate now less than half of its pre-FTA level, U.S. beef is enjoyed by more Korean consumers than ever, and in a wider variety of venues. This will also happen in Japan when duty rates come down, but on an even larger scale.”
Though Korea is gaining, Japan remains the largest volume and value destination for U.S. beef. July exports slipped 2% from a year ago to 31,213 mt, with value down 4% to $188.4 million. Through the first seven months of the year, exports to Japan were 1% below last years’ pace in both volume (189,052 mt) and value ($1.2 billion).