Fast Start in March for U.S. Beef Exports, Net Sales


U.S. beef exports for the week of Feb. 28 through March 6 totaled 13,200 mt, up 13 percent from the previous four-week average and setting a marketing year high. Primary destinations were Japan (4,200 mt, +52 percent and the largest since August), Hong Kong (2,500 mt, +16 percent and the largest since December), Mexico (2,100 mt, +5 percent), South Korea (2,000 mt, -8 percent), Canada (900 mt, -35 percent) and Taiwan (750 mt, +31 percent and the largest since September).


Beef net sales of 17,700 mt were up 44 percent from the previous four-week average and the largest since December. Net sales were mainly for Japan (8,400 mt, the largest since April), Hong Kong (3,800 mt, +40 percent), Korea (2,700 mt, +39 percent), Canada (1,300 mt, +12 percent), Vietnam (500 mt, the largest since March 2013 when access to Hong Kong was expanded to include bone-in beef) and Taiwan (470 MT, -27 percent).

U.S. pork exports for the week totaled 12,000 mt, up 6 percent from the previous four-week average. Exports were primarily to Mexico (4,200 mt, -6 percent), Korea (1,700 mt, -6 percent), Japan (1,600 mt, +25 percent), Canada (1,000 mt, -4 percent), Hong Kong (950 mt, +54 percent) and China (500 mt, +36 percent).

Pork net sales of 7,100 mt were down 44 percent from the previous four-week average, as only 200 mt were reported for Mexico. Primary destinations were Japan (2,200 mt), Canada (1,700 mt), Korea (1,200 mt), Colombia (400 mt) and Hong Kong (300 MT).

Adjustments made to 2011 beef export data

Similar to changes made to 2012 beef export data back in September, this week FAS announced export adjustments for the 2011 data. Interestingly, weekly exports for 2011 were actually smaller than the monthly statistics and only covered 92 percent of the export volume reported in the monthly Census Bureau data, so this downward adjustment might further confuse the issue. The adjustments brought the data for Russia and Korea into line with monthly statistics, but weekly volumes for Mexico and Canada are now significantly lower than the monthly totals, with the combined total 15 percent lower than exports reported through the monthly data.

Unfortunately, this was also the case for 2013 exports, for which the weekly data only covered 85 percent of chilled/frozen beef exports as reported by the Census Bureau in the monthly data. (After the revisions made last fall, 2012 exports covered 95 percent of actual exports.) This complicates the year-over-year comparisons, because weekly data for last year indicated a 5 percent drop in beef exports – which was not the case, exports were actually up 5 percent. We are seeing a similar trend this year, with weekly data for January indicating exports down 14 percent from last year, but actual monthly data showed exports up 6 percent. There are many reasons for data discrepancies, but the inconsistency makes analysis challenging.

Revisions to the 2011 data announced by FAS are as follows: Accumulated exports for 2011 were adjusted down 62,869 mt for the period beginning Jan. 6, 2011, through week ending Dec. 29, 2011. Total adjustments by country for this period: Mexico (-35,005 mt), Russia (-7,425 mt), Korea (-5,587 mt), Canada (-3,813 mt), the Philippines (-3,400 mt), Japan (-2,582 mt), Moldavia (-1,499 mt), Indonesia (-1,260 mt), Angola (-894 mt), Peru (-389 mt), Egypt (-302 mt), Taiwan (-128 mt), Vietnam (-114 mt), Jordan (-107 mt), Guatemala (-75 mt), Albania (-64 mt), Ukraine (-57 mt), Chile (-50 mt), Panama (-48 mt), Northern Mariana Islands (-41 mt), Costa Rica (-19 mt) and Honduras (-10 mt).


  • Source: USDA/FAS (includes exports and sales of whole muscle cuts)
  • Percent change is compared to the previous four-week average, unless otherwise noted