Beef Buzz News
USMEF Dan Halstrom On The Record-Breaking Month of May for U.S. Beef
Mon, 12 Jul 2021 09:57:52 CDT
U.S. beef export records hit an all-time high for the month of May, both for value and volume.
According to the latest data released from the USDA, beef exports topped $900 million for the first time ($904.3 million) while also setting a new volume record at 133,440 metric tons (mt). Pork exports exceeded $800 million for the first time at $813.2 million, while volume was the third largest on record at 283,617 mt.
“The really encouraging thing here is it was pretty broad-based growth,” said Dan Halstrom, CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Halstrom notes that record-large exports to South Korea set the pace for U.S. beef, along with strong performances in Japan, China and Latin America. Exports to Japan bounced back from the impact of a higher safeguard tariff rate imposed from mid-March to mid-April.
Adequate number of workers to fabricate the beef as well as pork is still a major concern for the export arena, especially when it comes to beef variety meats; however, Halstrom said things improved in May.
“Beef variety meats also had a very strong showing in the month of May, as they were up over 60 percent, Halstrom said. “This is an area we were concerned about, so it’s really a good sign to see variety meats rebound.”
Pork exports increased from year-ago levels despite a significant drop in exports to China, where domestic pork production is rebounding from the effects of African swine fever (ASF) and demand for imported pork is trending lower. Halstrom explains that strong growth to Mexico, Japan, Central America, Colombia and the Philippines more than offset the decline to China, underscoring the importance of export market diversification.
In May, pork variety meat exports jumped 42% from a year ago to 50,000 mt, with value reaching nearly $125 million (up 62%). Beef variety meat exports were the largest since 2019 at 28,347 mt, up 65% from a year ago. Export value was $91.3 million, up 72% and the third highest on record.
He believes if we come up with a product to sell, there will be even greater demand down the road, especially as food service and other key markets truly open up.
Halstrom said many big markets in Asia are still seeing significant lockdowns on food service, Japan and Korea in particular. Taiwan is another being impacted greatly, he added.
COVID-19 and some of the impacts there are not completely behind us for some of these big countries, Halstrom said, but with progress being made he is hopeful for a food service rebound in the future.
Halstrom said that even in the face of big challenges such a getting products shipped to the end-destination, it may still be done.
“As bright as the news looks on the both the beef and pork stats for May, we are accomplishing this even with some continued headwinds, specifically the congestion of international shipping,” Halstrom said. “The industry is working hard to alleviate this issue and to catch up with the pipeline in terms of extended hours and increased cargo capacity on vessels.”
Halstrom stated every effort is being made to try to work through this backlog of cargo that has sold but has yet to be shipped in major ports.
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