Global Demand for U.S. Beef Continues to Soar
“Rarely have we seen so many outside forces creating headwinds for U.S. meat exports and such uncertainty in the global marketplace,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Yet consumer demand for high-quality beef, pork and lamb has proven resilient, and USMEF sees opportunities for further growth in both established and emerging markets.”
Beef exports totaled 108,501 metric tons (mt) in February, up 5% from a year ago, while value climbed 35% to $904.4 million. Through the first two months of the year, exports increased 9% to 227,567 mt, while value soared 46% to $1.93 billion.
“Broad-based growth has become a recurring theme for U.S. beef exports, as international demand has never been higher and global supplies remain tight,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “We anticipated a lift from COVID-related foodservice restrictions being eased in many destinations. This materialized late last year and in early 2022, although conditions still vary by country. While lockdowns in China and Hong Kong are certainly a setback for foodservice demand, those are the main exceptions as most countries have shifted to more of a living-with-COVID approach.”
Demand for U.S. pork did not fare as well in the first two months of 2022, as logistics challenges were compounded by lower-priced offerings from competitors. Like the U.S., these suppliers are shipping significantly lower volumes to China/Hong Kong, which has pushed more product into other markets at reduced prices.
February pork exports were 198,539 mt, down 17% from a year ago, while export value fell 14% to $541.3 million. Through February, exports were also down 17% in volume (407,347 mt) and 14% in value ($1.1 billion).
“European hog prices jumped sharply in March, climbing about 35% compared to February,” Halstrom explained. “While this came too late to impact our February export results, it could lead to more favorable market conditions going forward.”