U.S. exports of beef in July climbed 12 percent in volume year over year and 16 percent in value, representing another near-record month.
But retaliatory tariffs on pork headed to Mexico and China took some wind out of the sails for pork shipments, which were up 1.5 percent in volume but down 5 percent in value.
July beef exports — led by another spectacular performance in South Korea and strong growth in Japan, Taiwan and Latin America — at $722 million were just slightly below the record $722.1 million set in May, according to the latest report by U.S. Meat Export Federation.
“The worldwide momentum for U.S. beef has rarely been as strong as it is today,” Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO, said in a press release accompanying the data.
From high-end restaurants to convenience stores, U.S. beef is gaining new fans across the globe on a daily basis, he said.
“To a large degree, our mainstream markets are driving this growth. But emerging markets in Asia and the Western Hemisphere are also displaying a tremendous appetite for U.S. beef and contributing significantly to the surge in export value,” he said.
U.S. beef exports to Japan hit a post-BSE volume high in July reaching 31,833 metric tons, up 15 percent from a year ago, valued at $196.3 million for a 12 percent increase in value.
Shipments to South Korea were up 51 percent year over year to 23,614 metric tons, with value soaring 66 percent to $169.2 million.
Despite recent trade tensions and uncertainty, July beef exports to Mexico were up 2 percent in volume and 5 percent in value.
Beef exports January through July established a record pace in both volume and value. At 779,450 metric tons, shipments were up 10 percent year over year. Value increased 20 percent to $4.76 billion and large gains were seen in shipments to Taiwan, the Philippines, Columbia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama.
While U.S. pork exports showed gains, growth was slowed by retaliatory tariffs that rose to 20 percent on shipments to Mexico and 62 percent on shipments to China.
“It is encouraging to see pork export volume continue to grow, even in the face of considerable headwinds in some of our most critical markets,” Halstrom said.
But as anticipated, the higher tariffs by Mexico and China weigh heavily on the price exports can command, he said.
July shipments to Mexico were down 4 percent in volume and 25 percent in value year over year. Shipments to China/Hong Kong fell 31 percent in volume and 19 percent in value.
Shipments to Japan, however, increased 10 percent in volume and 6 percent in value.
From January through July, U.S. pork exports were up 2 percent in volume to 1.45 metric tons and 3 percent in value to $3.83 billion. Notable gains were seen in shipments to South Korea, Columbia, Peru, Central America, the Dominican Republic, Oceania, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Lamb exports continue to rebound from last year’s lows, with exports up 54 percent in volume and 21 percent in value January through July, USMEF reported.