Exports of U.S. beef are continuing their upward trend, the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) says. During the week of June 13-19, U.S. beef export sales exceeded those for the same week in 2003 – the last pre-BSE year – by 12%, reaching 14,700 metric tons (mt), or 32.4 million lbs. Beef export sales also exceeded the previous week in 2008 by 24%, although year-to-date exports still trail 2003 totals by nearly 39%.

Much of the surge is led by Russian buying. Weekly sales to Russia reached 1,600 mt (3.5 million lbs.), while year-to-date (January through third week of June) sales topped 4,056 mt (8.9 million lbs.), compared with just 351 mt (773,814 lbs.) during the same pre-BSE January-June period in 2003, says Erin Daley, USMEF manager of research and analysis.

"The beef market in Russia continues to expand, and has further growth potential," Daley says. “Australia's exports to Russia totaled 30,749 mt (67.8 million lbs.) from January through May compared to 537 mt (1.2 million lbs.) last year."

Daley noted that with tight Brazilian beef supplies leading to an 18% decline in Brazil's beef exports to Russia, Russia is outbidding the U.S. for Australian and Uruguayan beef, replacing the U.S. as Uruguay's largest market.

"At the same time, U.S. beef is competitively priced in the Russian market," Daley notes, "and export volumes far exceed those in 2003, offering support for U.S. round and chuck values."

U.S. beef sales to Japan, Taiwan, Canada and other markets also increased appreciably, which Daley believes is related to the anticipated opening of the South Korean market.

Following are accumulated (January through the third week of June) exports, compared to the same period in 2007 (or year noted if market was closed last year):

  • Mexico: up 4% to 110,424 mt (243.4 million lbs.)
  • Canada: up 50% to 36,477 mt (80.4 million lbs.)
  • Japan: up 76% to 22,833 mt (50.3 million lbs.)
  • Vietnam: up 583% to 18,090 mt (39.9 million lbs.)
  • Taiwan: up 48% to 11,316 mt (24.9 million lbs.)
  • Russia: 4,056 mt (8.9 million lbs.) compared to 351 mt (773,815 lbs.) during the same period in 2003
  • Albania: up 139% to 3,376 mt (7.4 million lbs.)
  • Moldova: up 289% to 2,741 mt (6 million lbs.)
  • EU-27: up 277% to 886 mt (1.9 million lbs.) compared to 235 mt (518,081 lbs.)
  • Egypt: 1,191 mt (2.6 million lbs.) compared to zero last year
  • Peru: up 145% to 485 mt (1.1 million lbs.)
  • Philippines: up 94% to 750 mt (1.6 million lbs.)
  • UAE: up 72% to 336 mt (740,746 lbs.)
Total accumulated exports were 217,746 mt (480 million lbs.), up 34% from last year, but trailing 2003 volumes by 39%, which totaled 354,868 mt (782.3 million lbs.) during the corresponding period. In 2003, 61% of accumulated exports were to Japan and Korea. This year, exports to Japan accounted for just 10% of the accumulated (year-to-date) exports.
-- USMEF release