According to the latest numbers from the USDA, U.S. beef exports finished 2020 lower year-over-year, down in both volume at 1.25 million metric tons, and value at $7.65 billion.
But the news isn’t all bad.
USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said beef ended the year on a very strong note.
“[I’m] quite happy with the beef numbers in December. Almost 120,000 metric tons. The second highest month on record, that brings us back to where we’re down just 5% from 2019.”
Halstrom noted there is exciting news when it comes to momentum in markets that have been lagging.
“And in particular, Mexico stands out. And that’s a really, really good sign because we’ve already seen some rebound going on in Asia, with Japan in particular. We’re forecasting significant growth in Japan again in 2021. Taiwan as well had a very good year, just slightly exceeding the record from 2019, and China, probably the hero of 2020. On beef we’re going to come in at about 42,000 tons exported.”
Halstrom credited much of that trade with China to the Phase One agreement.
When it comes to other meat exports, U.S. lamb hit a record 20,045 metric in 2020, up 27% year-over-year, however, export value fell 9% to $23.8 million. U.S. pork exports topped out at nearly three million metric tons in 2020, topping the 2019 record by 11%. Pork export value also climbed 11% to a record $7.71 billion.
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