July was another $1bn month for US beef exports, with 126,567t exported, the fifth highest on record.

Comparing with July last year, the volume of exports is up 3% and the value is up 7%.

Given the current strength of the US dollar compared with currencies of major trading partners, the US Meat Exporters Federation (USMEX), which represents the meat factories, is well pleased with the performance.

All monetary figures referred to are just in dollars as the value of the US dollar and the euro are the same at present.


Japan is the largest volume market in July, taking 30,726t, which is 8% higher than July 2021m while the value is $231.6m, 3% higher than July last year.

For the year to date, US beef exports to Japan are at 186,239t, just slightly ahead of last year, while the value is $1.49bn, 17% higher.

July was a quieter month for US beef exports to South Korea, with the volume down 3% to 22,710t and while this is still the highest value market, the value was also down by 4% in July.

Despite this, year-to-date volumes and value to South Korea are still running ahead of last year, up 5% at 173,023t and value is up a spectacular 33% at $1.72bn.

The growth in volumes and value to China continued to grow in July. The volume for July was 26,884t, 25% higher than July 2021 and the value was up 34% to $245.4m.

This brings the year-to-date volume to China up to 144,107t, which is a massive 46% higher than the same period last year.

Record volumes of US beef were exported in 2021 and this has increased further in the first seven months of 2022.

The EU and UK remain minor markets for US beef exports, but it has grown rapidly this year from just 6,622t between January and July 2021 to 12,002t this year.

The fact that 8,108t of this is allocated to Netherlands reflects the fact that it landed in Rotterdam Port, from which point it is free to move anywhere in the EU27 single market.

For the January to July period in 2022, US beef exports are running ahead of the record exporting year of 2021.

Volumes for the first seven months are up 6% to 870,471t compared with the same period in 2021, while the value is up 29% at $7.2bn.

Value increase is driven by a combination of the strength of the US dollar and very high value international beef markets particularly in the first half of the year.

The US dominates the north Asian market, along with Australia, and is now competing very strongly with South American exporters to China.

Irish farmers can only look on with envy as, ironically, in the first half of 2020, Irish beef exports to China were actually ahead of the US.

Since then, Ireland was suspended because of the BSE case in May 2000 and the US has gone from strength to strength.

The recent trade mission to Japan suggests there is potential there – we are starting from a low base and no doubt it can grow, but it will be difficult to dislodge the US and Australia to grow a volume market.

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