A new report by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) shows that 2010 was the best year ever for U.S. beef export value as a final total of $4.08 billion in shipments broke the previous high of $3.86 billion set in 2003. Last year’s export value total was also a nearly $1 billion improvement over 2009.
2010 was also a very good year for U.S. beef exports when measured in terms of volume. At 1.067 million metric tons (mt.), last year’s total volume bested the 2009 performance by 19%.
The rise in exports was a welcome turnaround from 2009 when U.S. beef exports were hampered by the historic international economic decline. But USMEF President and CEO Phil Seng said even in the troubled year of 2009, U.S. beef maintained or increased its market share in most key markets and was poised for a rebound.
“We knew the groundwork was in place for an excellent recovery in 2010,” said Seng. “But even the most optimistic forecasts underestimated the degree to which our beef exports would bounce back. Increasing beef export value by almost one-third, and nearly $1 billion, is a critical achievement for the U.S. beef industry and a substantial boost for U.S. producers.”
Export value equated to $153.09 per head of fed slaughter, which is up 22% from 2009 and 12% higher than in 2003. Nearly 12% of total beef production was exported, compared to less than 10% in 2009.
Mexico was the only major destination for U.S. beef to show a decline in 2010, and even that market was showing substantial improvement by the end of the year. For 2010, beef exports to Mexico were down 15% in volume (247,614 mt.) and 10% in value ($819.1 million). But December marked the third consecutive month in which exports to Mexico exceeded their 2009 value – jumping by more than 15% to $83.6 million. Mexico remains the top export market for U.S. beef.
Other 2010 market highlights for U.S. beef include:
• Exports to Canada increased 7% in volume (153,177 mt.) and 15% in value ($733.4 million – a new record) over 2009. Canada remains the second best market for U.S. beef in both volume and value.
• Japan is the third largest market for U.S. beef but is gaining ground quickly in terms of value. In 2010, exports to Japan increased by 36% in both volume (124,561 mt.) and value ($639.5 million).
• South Korea represents one of the great recovery stories of 2010, with exports more than doubling in volume (112,759 mt.) and climbing by 140% in value ($517.9 million).
For more information on U.S. beef exports, go to http://www.usmef.org/downloads/December-2010-32.pdf.