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Beef value growth continues in key markets

Exports Beef Pork

Beef exports remained strong in February, while pork exports stayed below year-ago levels, according to an analysis from the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

The growth in beef value continued in key Asian and Latin American markets, says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO.

“Rarely have we seen so many outside forces creating headwinds for U.S. meat exports and such uncertainty in the global marketplace,” he says. “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 in February were up 5% from a year ago, with beef values climbing by 35%. 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,” Halstrom says. “We anticipated a lift from COVID-related food service restrictions being eased in many destinations.

“While lockdowns in China and Hong Kong are certainly a setback for food service demand, those are the main exceptions as most countries have shifted to more of a living-with-COVID approach.”

Beef export volume was down in South Korea in February, although value climbed by 17%. Through February, exports to South Korea have already surpassed the $500 million.

The USMEF says February exports to Japan were down 5%, but value jumped 21% to just under $200 million. Beef exports also increased to China/Hong Kong, Taiwan, Central and South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Pork exports continued to trend lower in February, despite strong demand from Mexico and Japan. Shipments to China/Hong Kong continued to slip, the USMEF says.

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).

U.S. pork exports to Mexico reached new heights in 2021, and this strong momentum continued through February. January-February exports to Mexico climbed 33% to 160,996 mt, with value up 19% to $255.1 million.

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Jeff DeYoung is editor and livestock editor for Iowa Farmer Today, Missouri Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.

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