The U.S. beef export forecast for 2010 has been revised upward to 2.29 billion pounds. This export total is only 10 percent lower than the pre-BSE discovery record level in 2003 and demonstrates nearly 17 percent year-over-year growth. Third-quarter exports totaled 590 million pounds, 19 percent higher than year earlier levels. Strong demand for U.S. beef abroad and a weaker U.S. dollar have largely fueled U.S. beef exports or, rather, total red meat exports this year. With continued economic improvement, this trend shows no signs of slowing into 2011.
Furthermore, the strong export demand for beef has been pointed to as one of the dominant factors underpinning wholesale beef prices in the domestic market. U.S. beef exports to Japan and South Korea through the third quarter were 24 and 133 percent higher year-over-year, respectively. Exports to Taiwan and Hong Kong were 46 and 50 percent higher year-over-year.
Weekly FAS Export Sales Reports also show strong early fourth quarter increases in exports, particularly to Japan and Mexico. The yen continues to strengthen (averaging 81.74 JPY/USD in October and 81.34 JPY/USD thus far in November) to new highs. Weekly exports to Mexico—below 2009 levels so far this year— have increased in the fourth quarter from prior weekly levels, largely due to the elimination of compensatory import duties previously imposed on U.S. beef imports to Mexico. Weekly exports to Taiwan and Vietnam in October were also at their strongest to date. Year-over-year growth in U.S. beef exports to trading partners in Asia is anticipated for next year, as is growth to Canada due to decreased Canadian production. Increasing consumption of beef in Egypt should also provide strong support to imports of U.S. beef to that country next year. Total U.S. beef exports for 2011 are forecast at 2.27 billion pounds.