U.S. Beef Exports Trending Higher in 2020
Beef exports posted more modest growth in January, increasing 2.5% from a year ago in volume (107,374 mt) and 5% in value ($672.7 million). But beef muscle cut exports were the highest ever for the month of January at 81,342 mt, up 4% from a year ago, while muscle cut value increased 5% to $589.2 million. Export value per head of fed slaughter was $302.93, up 3% from a year ago. Exports accounted for 13.1% of total beef production, down slightly from a year ago, and 10.6% for muscle cuts only (steady with January 2019).
Release of the January export data comes as coronavirus is dominating news headlines, including those related to global trade. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said the virus has had an impact on red meat exports, which will likely be more evident in February and March data, but a number of supply and demand fundamentals and market access improvements have underpinned continued strong export volumes.
"The first quarantine actions in China were taken in late January and the calendar had turned to February before coronavirus became a major health concern in countries such as South Korea and Japan," Halstrom said. "But despite logistical challenges, a severe decline in tourism and a notable impact on sit-down dining, overall demand for red meat in these markets is quite resilient. Retail meat sales have remained strong and both retailers and restaurateurs are utilizing e-commerce and delivery services at unprecedented levels. While it's definitely a challenging situation, the Asian food industry is adapting to these conditions and finding creative ways to accommodate consumers."