Beef imports exceeded exports during January for the first month since August 2010. Beef exports during January were the lowest of any month since April 2010. January exports were down 8 million pounds (4.4%) compared to a year ago, largely because Hong Kong purchased 7 million pounds less U.S. beef than in January 2011. January beef imports were up 43 million pounds (28.8%) compared to a year ago and the highest since June 2011.

In total, 8.6% of January beef production was exported. Beef imports equaled 9.0% of January production.

January domestic retail beef demand was up 8.1% compared to a year earlier; but export demand for U.S. beef was down 1.9%. Packer demand in January for fed cattle was up 3.8% compared to January 2011.