Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation
U.S. beef export value reached another new high in November, topping $1 billion for the second time in 2021, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). November pork exports were lower than a year ago, but year-to-date export value maintained a record pace at more than $7.5 billion.
November beef exports totaled 123,641 metric tons (mt), up 7% from a year ago and the fourth largest monthly volume in the post-BSE era. Export value was a record $1.05 billion, up 49% year-over-year and exceeding the previous high set in August 2021. For January through November, beef exports were on a record volume pace at 1.32 million mt, up 16% from a year ago. Beef export value, which had already set a new annual record through October, increased more than $2.5 billion from a year ago, soaring 39% to $9.59 billion.
Pork exports totaled 237,547 mt in November, down 8% from a year ago, while value was 6% lower at $658.3 million. Through November, export volume fell slightly below the record pace of 2020 at 2.71 million mt. Export value was $7.5 billion, up 7% from a year ago and rapidly approaching the annual record ($7.71 billion) set in 2020.
“With one month of results still to be tabulated, it’s very gratifying to see red meat exports setting new annual records and achieving remarkable growth over a wide range of markets,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “It is important, however, that we do not take this success for granted or allow it to detract from the challenges facing U.S. agriculture. Global demand for U.S. red meat has never been stronger, but labor and transportation obstacles and high input costs across the supply chain make it increasingly difficult to satisfy this demand. USMEF greatly appreciates the effort by lawmakers, maritime regulators and other officials to address the persistent congestion at U.S. ports, but this continues to be a costly and frustrating situation for U.S. exporters and their international customers.”
Beef exports poised to break $10 billion mark, setting records in key markets
Japan will finish 2021 as the leading volume destination for U.S. beef exports, but is in a neck-and-neck race with South Korea on export value. November exports to Japan totaled 27,539 mt, up 15% from a year ago, while value climbed 54% to $243.1 million. Through November, exports to Japan were 6% above last year’s pace at 297,354 mt. Export value reached $2.16 billion, up 22% and exceeding $2 billion for the first time since 2018. Growth to Japan has been in the chilled beef category (142,457 mt, up 13%) and in tongues, skirts and other variety meat (58,543 mt, +38%), with continued strong retail demand.
November beef exports to Korea were 23,292 mt, up 23% from a year ago, while value soared 81% to a record $243.4 million. These results pushed January-November exports to new annual records of 258,552 mt valued at $2.17 billion – up 13% and 36% respectively and already exceeding the previous full-year highs reached in 2019. Chilled beef shipments to Korea totaled 79,619 mt, up 24%.
Beef exports to China/Hong Kong are also on pace to exceed $2 billion in 2021. Through November, exports to the region nearly doubled from a year ago to 219,264 mt (up 98%) and increased 125% in value to $1.9 billion. Direct exports to China, bolstered by greatly improved market access achieved in the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement, increased more than 400% from a year ago to 172,257 mt, valued at $1.43 billion (up 502%).