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Red Meat Exports Hit 2013 Highs

07 August 2013

US - Exports of US beef and pork enjoyed their best month of the year in June, rising both in volume and value over 2012 levels, while lamb exports continued their steady increase, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Pork exports in June increased 2.4 per cent in volume to 169,098 metric tons while edging a fraction higher in value to $469.7 million. Beef exports fared even better, rising 8 per cent in volume to 101,720 metric tons and 21 per cent in value to $562.3 million.

Lamb exports also continued to grow, jumping 29 per cent in volume to 1,423 metric tons and nearly 4 per cent in value to $2.5 million.

"There is no question that challenges persist, such as the continued closure of the Russian market, but we are seeing positive signs from key markets, including Japan and Mexico, that are vital trading partners for our industry," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

Another positive growth metric in June was the per-head export value recorded for both beef and pork. Beef export value was a record $260.21 per head of fed slaughter, a $56.31 increase over June of 2012. For pork, the per-head export value was $57.27 in June versus $54.78 last year.

Top performing beef export markets in June (by volume) were Japan (+66 per cent), Hong Kong (+156 per cent), Mexico (+14 per cent), Taiwan (+400 per cent) and Central/South America (+62 per cent; growth mainly to Peru and Chile). The absence of exports to Russia continues to be felt, as the 5,903 metric tons of beef exported there last June made it the No. 6 market for US beef.

"We are focused on the markets where we can take advantage of opportunities, such as expanded access for US beef in Japan, the rebound in Taiwan and continued growth of the Hong Kong and Central/South America markets," said Mr Seng. "At the same time, we continue relationship-building in Russia for when that market reopens, and stand ready to capitalize on the growing demand for high-quality beef in China when access can be restored for the first time since 2003."

Pork exports to Mexico increased 20 per cent in June, pushing the first-half total nearly even with last year’s record pace. Other top pork export growth markets in June (by volume) were Japan (+4 per cent), China/Hong Kong (+15 per cent), Central/South America (+54 per cent; mainly to Colombia, Honduras and Chile), the ASEAN (+26 per cent; mainly to the Philippines), Caribbean (+36 per cent; mainly to the Dominican Republic) and Taiwan (+67 per cent).

"The rebound in Mexico is particularly gratifying," said Mr Seng. "An abundance of domestic pork in Mexico affected demand in the first quarter and the Russia closure had a negative impact on the prices paid for hams and other cuts sold to processors in Mexico. But we are focusing on this market with a pork imaging campaign that is getting positive reviews from importers and consumers alike."

Strong buying from Mexico likely helped propel heavy hams to over 90 cents per pound by early June, a 22 per cent increase compared to last year’s prices. But access to Russia will become increasingly critical as we move into seasonally larger pork production.

For the year, US beef exports are down 1 per cent in volume at 542,560 metric tons but 6 per cent higher in value at $2.83 billion. Total beef exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) accounted for 13.6 per cent of US beef production in June, up from 12 per cent last year. For the year they account for 12.4 per cent of production, about the same as last year.

June beef muscle cut exports accounted for 11 per cent of production (up from 10 per cent in June 2012). For the first half of the year, exports accounted for 9.6 per cent of beef muscle cut production, about the same as last year.

Pork exports for the first half of 2013 are down 7 per cent in volume and value to 1.05 million metric tons valued at $2.94 billion. Total pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) accounted for 28 per cent of total US pork production in June versus 26 per cent last year. For the year they equate to 26 per cent of production versus 28 per cent in 2012.

June pork muscle cut exports accounted for 24 per cent of production (up from 23 per cent in June 2012). For the first half, exports accounted for 21.7 per cent of muscle cut production, down from 24 per cent last year.

Lamb exports continue to be led by Mexico and Canada. For the year, total lamb exports are up 17 per cent in volume to 7,263 metric tons valued at $15.7 million, a 25 per cent jump.

ThePigSite News Desk



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