Jun 28, 2011
US to break record for beef shipment
The US may ship the most beef ever this year after its share of the world market increases by twofold in four years due to demand from Asia that revives a US$3.84 billion export industry decimated by mad-cow disease.
Shipments will jump 17% to 2.68 billion pounds this year, exceeding the previous record set in 2003, according to Centennial, Colorado-based CattleFax, which has researched the industry for four decades. Global trade in refrigerated meat, including overland shipments, expanded 2% to 31 million tonnes last year, Clarkson Research Services Ltd., a unit of the world's largest shipbroker, estimated.
The sales surge is part of an agriculture boom that will generate record income of US$94.7 billion this year as American farmers fill supply gaps left by droughts and floods ruining crops, the US government estimated. Consumers in the US faced the highest ever retail prices for beef in the first four months and costs will rise as much as 8% this year, more than any major food group, the government said.
"We would not have had the record-high prices without the very robust export markets," said Jim Robb, the director of the Livestock Marketing Information Centre, a Denver-based research company funded by universities, the industry and government. "In some cases, rather lackluster growth in domestic consumption is being made up for in these export markets."

South Korea is the biggest buyer of US beef and sales more than doubled in the first four months after a livestock disease curbed domestic supply. The Asian nation's total imports this year will be the highest since 2003, the USDA estimated. South Korea reported 89 outbreaks of the foot-and-mouth virus since January 2010, data from the World Organisation for Animal Health showed.

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