According to data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), October beef exports totalled 117,838 metric tons (mt), up 6% from a year ago, valued at US$727.4m – up 10% and the second-highest monthly total on record.
South Korea proved to be a success story again for the US beef sector, rising 17% year-on-year, while Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines also welcomed more beef during the month.
“Demand for US beef continues to climb in nearly every region of the world, with annual records already falling in some markets,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Per-head export value will also easily set a new record in 2018, which illustrates the strong returns exports are delivering for cattle producers and for the entire supply chain.”
While pork volumes from the US were higher than those of beef, the value wasn’t as high. The figures found that pork export volume was 207,725mt, the largest since May but still 2% lower year-on-year, reflecting smaller variety meat exports. Export value ($536.5m) was also the largest since May, but still down 5% from a year ago.
Recipients of US pork also included South Korea, South America and the Dominican Republic, while exports of pork to China and Hong Kong declined 27% year-on-year.
“Despite some very significant obstacles, global demand dynamics for US pork remain strong,” Halstrom said. “We are hopeful that the events of the past week – the signing of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the return of trade negotiations between the US and China – represent progress toward elimination of retaliatory duties imposed by key trading partners. If we can put that situation behind us, US pork is well-positioned to regain the momentum displayed early in the year.”
He added that upcoming trade negotiations with Japan were critical for the US pork and beef industries, as all major competitors in the Japanese market would soon benefit from significant tariff reductions.
October exports of US lamb more than doubled from a year ago to 1,161mt (up 107%). Export value was also strong, climbing 48% to $1.96m. Lamb muscle cut exports were 207mt in October, up 20% from a year ago, valued at $1.13m (up 27%).