Beef exports falling back from record numbers

August beef exports this year were below the record-large numbers in August of last year. That’s according to data from the USDA that was compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. August beef exports totaled just over 114,000 metric tons, a four percent drop from the large volume of a year ago. The export value dropped eight percent, coming in at a little more than $690 million.

January through August beef exports were also just below last year’s record pace, declining two percent in volume to 881,500 metric tons and one percent in value at $5.44 billion. Exports accounted for 14 percent of total U.S. beef production in August. In terms of specific markets, beef exports to Korea slowed nine percent compared to 2018. That drop followed value records on beef shipments to Korea that were set in June and July.

However, January-August exports to Korea were still eight percent ahead of last year’s record pace in volume and 10 percent higher in value. Beef variety meat exports to Japan have been a bright spot in 2019, increasing 31 percent in volume and 18 percent in value.

“The U.S. beef industry is excited about the prospect of lower tariffs in Japan,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “At 38.5 percent, the Japanese tariffs U.S. beef faces are the highest of any of our major markets.”