Washington, DC – US beef exports through May 2014 are up 6 percent from a year earlier, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).
Exports have strengthened to Hong Kong and Mexico, offsetting weaker shipments to Canada, Japan, and Taiwan.
Although exports to Japan had been running above year-earlier levels through April, they weakened in May. Imported beef stocks in Japan are well above year-earlier levels and consumption is stable.
Exports to Mexico have risen this year with shipments during May 48 percent higher than the previous May. Second-quarter exports were raised by 10 million pounds due to stronger demand from Hong Kong and Mexico, the FAS said.
The forecast for US beef exports in 2014 is 2.518 billion pounds, almost 3 percent lower than 2013.
Despite stronger shipments during the first 5 months of the year, exports are expected to fall during the remaining months.
Production is forecast to fall nearly 5 percent in 2014 and then 1 percent in 2015 due to reduced cattle inventories and higher heifer retention for herd rebuilding.
Prices, which have risen as a result of lower supply, the agency said, are likely to dampen export demand over the forecast period. The forecast for exports during 2015 is 2.425 billion pounds, 4 percent lower than 2014.