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New records for U.S. beef export value, pork volume

Staff Writer |
2017 was a record-breaking year for U.S. red meat exports, with beef export value exceeding $7 billion for only the second time and pork exports easily surpassing the previous year’s volume record, according to data by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

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Beef exports totaled 1.26 million metric tons (mt), up 6 percent from 2016. This was the fourth-largest volume on record and the second-largest of the post-BSE era.

Beef export value reached $7.27 billion, up 15 percent year-over-year and 2 percent above the previous high achieved in 2014 ($7.13 billion).

For December only, beef export value was up 9 percent from a year ago to $672.9 million – the second-highest of 2017 and the third-highest on record. December volume was down 3 percent from a year ago to 113,269 mt.

Beef exports accounted for 12.9 percent of total production in 2017 and 10.4 percent for muscle cuts only, down from 13.7 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively, in 2016.

Beef export value averaged $286.38 per head of fed slaughter, up 9 percent from 2016 and the second-highest on record, trailing only the $300.36 average posted in 2014.

Pork exports totaled 2.45 million mt in 2017, breaking the 2016 record by 6 percent. Export value was $6.49 billion – up 9 percent year-over-year and the second-highest on record, trailing only 2014 ($6.65 billion).

Japan solidified its position as the leading market for U.S. beef in 2017, with volume climbing 19 percent year-over-year to 307,559 mt and value up 25 percent to $1.89 billion – new post-BSE records.

Mexico remained the second-largest volume market (237,972 mt, down 2 percent from 2016) and third-largest in value ($979.7 million, up slightly).

Strong demand for U.S. hams set the pace for the sixth consecutive volume record for pork exports to Mexico at 801,887 mt, up 10 percent year-over-year.

Export value reached $1.51 billion – up 12 percent and the second-highest on record, trailing only 2014 ($1.56 billion).

Exports to leading value market Japan increased 2 percent in volume (393,648 mt) and 4 percent in value ($1.63 billion).

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