Keith Good -- University of Illinois

In its October Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report, the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) indicated that, “U.S. beef exports in August set a new record of 325 million pounds, an increase of 57 million pounds, or 21%, from a year ago.

August’s increase in beef exports was driven primarily by China’s strong demand for U.S. beef. Gaining access to China’s market in March 2020, coupled with China’s low domestic pork supplies and Australia’s limited exportable beef supplies, has worked in the U.S. favor.

“The U.S. largest beef exports in August went to Japan, totaling 77 million pounds, up 10% from the previous year. Beef exports to Japan from May to August were 13% higher compared to the same period a year ago partially due to the lowering of Japan’s tariff rate from 38.5% to 25% on April 17. Mexico was another key trading partner that contributed to the increase in beef exports in August; U.S. beef exports to Mexico were up 9.2 million pounds, or 49%, from a year ago when exports were limited by economic weakness in Mexico and COVID-19-related constraints. Year to date, Mexico’s share of U.S. beef exports has been relatively stable at 9%.

“In contrast, lower year-over-year beef exports were shipped to four of the seven major U.S. beef destinations in August. Exports to South Korea, the second-largest U.S. beef destination, were 6.7 million pounds or 9% lower, accounting for the majority of the reduction among the major U.S. beef destinations. U.S. beef exports to Hong Kong were down 26% or 4.5 million pounds from a year ago, while key trading partners Taiwan and Canada were 2.9 and 1.6 million pounds lower year over year, respectively. The fourth-quarter forecast for beef exports was unchanged from last month. The annual beef export forecasts for 2021 and 2022 were also unchanged from last month at 3.414 and 3.27 billion pounds, respectively.”