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July Pork Exports Rise

06 September 2013

US - Paced by strong performances from leading markets, both US beef and pork exports continued their upward trend in July, with beef sales setting new highs for the year, while lamb exports slowed slightly for the month but remain up for the year, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Double-digit increases to the top three markets (Japan, Mexico and Canada) helped US beef exports jump 9 per cent in volume in July to 118,913 metric tons valued at $622.8 million, a 21 per cent increase over last year. For the year, beef exports are up a fraction in volume (661,473 metric tons) and 9 per cent in value to $3.45 billion.

Strong performances by Mexico, the China/Hong Kong region and Central/South America boosted pork exports by 8.5 per cent in volume in July to 178,794 metric tons valued at $502.6 million, a 7.5 increase over 2012. Through July, pork exports were down 5 per cent in volume and value, at 1.23 million metric tons and $3.44 billion. Excluding Russia, which has been closed to US pork and beef since February, exports were down just 1 per cent from last year’s record pace.

Lamb exports dipped a modest 3.2 per cent in July on 15.7 per cent lower volumes, but remain up by double digits for the year.

Beef Growth in Asia

“On the beef side, we are seeing the results of further rationalization of import practices in a number of key Asian markets,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

“Expanded access in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan has helped each of these key markets move closer to their full potential, and we are focusing our resources there to maximize opportunities to serve the growing demand in the region.”

As Seng noted, for the first seven months of 2013, beef exports are up dramatically to these three key markets:

  • Japan: up 57 per cent in volume and 43 per cent in value (142,875 metric tons valued at $855.8 million)
  • Hong Kong: up 102 per cent in volume and 128 per cent in value (60,159 metric tons valued at $368.4 million)
  • Taiwan: up 158 per cent in volume and 222 per cent in value (17,434 metric tons valued at $139.6 million)

Other top-performing markets for beef exports include:

  • Mexico: rebounding from a slow start earlier in the year (down 9 per cent in volume and value for the year to 110,689 metric tons valued at $470.9 million), July exports rose 16 per cent in volume and 26 per cent in value (21,309 metric tons valued at $91 million)
  • Central/South America: up 103 per cent in volume (6,636 metric tons) and 41 per cent in value ($17.1 million) in July; up 27 per cent in volume and 16 per cent in value for the year (25,963 metric tons valued at $88 million)

US beef exports in July accounted for 12 per cent of muscle cut and 15 per cent of beef and variety meat production versus 11 and 14 per cent respectively last year. The export value per head of fed slaughter set a new record of $272.90 – up $37.72 from last July. That despite the continued closure of the Russian market, which amounted to 42,319 metric tons valued at $179 million through July last year.

Pork Growth in Spite of Challenges

Pork exports in July were paced by the continued rebound of the Mexican market, strong variety meat demand in the China/Hong Kong region and rapid growth in both Central/South America (led by Colombia) and the ASEAN region (led by the Philippines). The 8.5 per cent volume and 7.5 per cent value increases in July were tempered by continued access issues in Russia and heavy competition in Japan.

“We are encouraged by the positive response to USMEF’s retail pork imaging campaign in Mexico, which is in direct correlation to sales growth there,” said Seng. “On the other hand, Japan is the highest-value pork market in the world, and we are facing intensified competition. We are one of 25 countries exporting pork to Japan, and while the US industry has deemphasized the priority of our promotional programs in Japan, our competitors are very aggressively working to take our market share. As a result, our share of Japan’s pork import market is down 3 per cent so far this year.”

Year-to-date, Japan’s total pork imports from all sources are down 3 per cent to 548,608 metric tons, but imports from the US are down 7 per cent (245,938 metric tons). At the same time, exports from four leading competitors (Mexico, Chile, Spain and Poland) are up by double digits for the year.

Top-performing pork export markets include:

  • Mexico: up 21 per cent in volume (55,567 metric tons) and 29 per cent in value ($114.3 million) in July, and up 2 per cent in volume (346,368 metric tons) and 3 per cent in value ($645 million) over the record pace of 2012
  • Central/South America: up 49 per cent in volume (9,437 metric tons) and 48 per cent in value ($23 million) in July, and up 36 per cent in volume (62,774 metric tons) and 34 per cent in value ($156.3 million) for the year
  • ASEAN: up 60 per cent in volume (6,407 metric tons) and 53.8 per cent in value ($14.4 million) in July, and up 44 per cent in volume (38,079 metric tons) and 36 per cent in value ($91.6 million) for the year
  • US pork exports in July accounted for 22 per cent of muscle cut and 27 per cent of pork and variety meat production, similar to last year (23 and 26.5 per cent respectively) with a per-head export value of $55.35, down from last year’s $56.04 total.

Lamb Exports Dip in July, But Up for Year

Lamb exports for July dipped a modest 3 per cent in value on 16 per cent lower volumes, totaling 914 metric tons valued at $2.1 million. For the year, exports are up 12 per cent in volume (8,177 metric tons) valued at $17.7 million, a 21 per cent increase. Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean remain the top three export destinations.

Complete exports results for US beef, pork and lamb are available online.

ThePigSite News Desk



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