January 11, 2021


USMEF: November US beef exports largest in more than a year



US beef exports posted one of the best months on record in November, according to data released by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and compiled by US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).


November was also a strong month for pork exports, which already surpassed the full-year volume and value records set in 2019.


"Demand for US beef in the global retail sector has been outstanding and we expect this to continue in 2021," said USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom.


"Unfortunately, foodservice continues to face COVID-related challenges. We expect a broader foodservice recovery this year, especially from mid-2021, but will likely still see interruptions in some markets. For US pork, it's great to set new records with an entire month to spare, but especially gratifying to see a diverse range of markets contributing to US export growth. USMEF still expects strong pork demand from China in 2021, but we're seeing a much-needed rebound in other regions, especially in Western Hemisphere markets."


November beef exports totaled 115,337 tonne, up 6% from a year ago and the largest since July 2019. Export value climbed 8% year-over-year to US$707.5 million. Through November, exports were 6% lower year-over-year in volume (1.13 million tonnes) and down 7% in value (US$6.9 billion). November beef muscle cut exports were the third largest on record at 91,338 tonnes (up 13%, trailing only July and August 2019), valued at US$630.4 million (up 11%). January-November muscle cut exports were 3% below 2019 in volume (883,012 tonnes) and 6% lower in value (US$6.11 billion).


Beef export value averaged US$338.43 per head of fed slaughter in November, up 10% from a year ago and the highest since April. The January-November average was US$298.01, down 3% from a year ago. Exports accounted for 14.8% of November beef production and 12.6% for muscle cuts only, each up significantly from a year ago (13.7% and 11%, respectively). January-November exports accounted for 13.3% of total beef production and 11.1% for muscle cuts, down from 14.1% and 11.4%, respectively, in 2019.


November pork export volume was steady year-over-year at 258,801 tonnes, with value down 2% at US$697.5 million. January-November results set new annual records for both volume (2.72 million tonnes, up 14% from the previous year's pace) and value (US$7.03 billion, up 13%). Pork muscle cut exports also shattered previous annual records, increasing 18% year-over-year to 2.29 million tonnes, valued at US$6.08 billion (up 15%).


Pork export value equated to US$63.33 per head slaughtered in November, up 1% from a year ago and the highest since May. The January-November average was US$58.53, up 12%. Exports accounted for 29.9% of total pork production in November and 27% for muscle cuts, each up slightly from November 2019. Through November, exports accounted for 29.3% of total production and 26.6% for muscle cuts, each up significantly from the 2019 ratios of 26.4% and 23%.


Beef exports to China continued to reach new heights in November at 8,372 tonnes, up 700% from a year ago, with value up 642% to US$60.1 million (by comparison, exports to China for all of 2019 totaled US$86.1 million). For January through November, exports to China totaled 33,081 tonnes (up 277% year-over-year) valued at US$237.8 million (up 239%). Shipments to China have trended higher since the March implementation of the US-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement, but have been especially strong since the mid-summer rebound in China's foodservice sector. The US is now the largest supplier of grain-fed beef to China, with US grain-fed volumes surpassing Australia's monthly shipments since September.


COVID-19's impact on Mexico's beef demand has been more persistent, driving 2020 exports sharply lower. But November results were very encouraging, with exports fully rebounding to pre-COVID levels and reaching the highest volume since 2016 at 22,871 tonnes, up 23% from a year ago, valued at US$105.1 million (up 21%). Through November, beef exports to Mexico were down 23% in volume (165,721 tonnes) and 28% lower in value (US$725.7 million) compared to 2019.


November was another excellent month for beef exports to Taiwan, with volume up 8% from a year ago to 5,242 tonnes, valued at US$48.7 million (up 13%). A strong December could push exports to Taiwan to another annual record, as January-November exports were 3% above 2019's record pace at 59,404 tonnes, valued at US$509.1 million (down 1%). The US continues to dominate Taiwan's chilled beef imports, capturing 76% market share.


Other January-November highlights for US beef exports include:


- Exports to leading market Japan were steady with November 2019 at 23,871 tonnes, with value down 3% to US$157.5 million. Through November, exports to Japan trailed the 2019 pace by 2% in both volume (280,954 tonnes) and value (US$1.77 billion). Muscle cut exports to Japan have fared better, increasing 4% to 238,539 tonnes valued at US$1.44 billion (down 1%).


- November beef exports to South Korea were down slightly from a year ago to 18,950 tonnes, valued at US$134.8 million (down 3%). Through the first 11 months of the year, exports to South Korea trailed the record pace of 2019 by 3% in volume (228,051 tonnes) and 6% in value (US$1.59 billion). However, US beef gained market share in South Korea in 2020, capturing 52.7% of total imports (up from 50.8% for the same period in 2019) and 64.1% of chilled imports (up from 61.6%). South Korea's imports of US chilled beef set another new record in 2020, totaling more than 62,000 tonnes through November.


- Led by a record month for Guatemala, November beef exports to Central America rebounded to 1,687 tonnes, up 36% from a year ago, valued at US$10.9 million (up 51%). January-November exports to the region were still down 11% from a year ago in volume (12,449 tonnes) and 15% in value (US$67.8 million), with demand heavily impacted by a reduction in foodservice activity.


Although China/Hong Kong remained the largest destination for US pork in November, momentum continued to build in other markets. November exports to Japan increased 6% from a year ago to 34,676 tonnes, valued at US$146.4 million (up 7%). Through November, exports to Japan were up 4% year-over-year in volume (353,636 tonnes) and increased 6% in value (US$1.49 billion). The US share of Japan's total pork imports increased to 36%, up from 31% in 2019, driven by strong demand for US ground seasoned pork and chilled and frozen US pork cuts, following the January 1, 2020 implementation of the US-Japan Trade Agreement.


US pork shipments to Mexico continued to trend higher in November at 65,136 tonnes, up 13% from a year ago, with value steady at US$124 million. Through November, exports were down 4% to 616,827 tonnes, valued at US$1.02 billion (down 11%). Pork muscle cut exports to Mexico were steady with 2019 at 520,157 tonnes, valued at US$871.2 million (down 9%). US share of Mexico's pork imports jumped to 87% in 2020, up from a low of 82% in 2019.


Led by Honduras and Guatemala, November pork exports to Central America increased 8% year-over-year in both volume (10,712 tonnes) and value (US$26.7 million). Through November, exports to the region pulled within 1% of 2019's record pace at 86,349 tonnes, valued at US$209.2 million (also down 1%).


Other January-November highlights for US pork exports include:


- November exports to China/Hong Kong were 3% below the previous year's large volume at 83,396 tonnes, and fell 5% in value to US$193.8 million. But through November, exports to the region were still up 72% to 955,008 tonnes, valued at US$2.18 billion (up 85%).


- Surging demand in Chile and continued signs of recovery in Colombia pushed November exports to South America to 14,296 tonnes (up 8% from a year ago), valued at US$35.6 million (up 10%). Through November, exports were still 22% below 2019's record pace at 110,947 tonnest, valued at US$274.3 million (down 23%).


- November exports to the ASEAN were down 6% from a year ago at 5,124 tonnes, but still climbed 28% in value to US$13.6 million. Led by the Philippines and Vietnam, January-November exports to the region increased 29% to 72,282 tonnes, valued at US$172.8 million (up 42%).


Strong demand in the Dominican Republic helped push January-November exports to the Caribbean 7% above the previous year's pace at 51,770 tonnes, with value up 2% to US$122.4 million. Exports to Trinidad and Tobago, an especially strong destination for pork variety meat, set a new record in 2020, reaching 5,164 tonnes through November.



Video >

Follow Us