US - Meat export volumes were lower in November but their value continues to rise at a record pace.
US beef and pork export volumes trended lower in November, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). However, the cumulative 2014 volume totals were still higher year-over-year, with January-November beef exports up two per cent to 1.1 million metric tons (mt). Pork exports were also two per cent higher at just under two million metric tons.
With December totals still to be recorded, beef exports already set a new full-year value record of $6.49 billion (up 16 per cent year-over-year). Pork export value through November ($6.13 billion, up 11 per cent) is on pace to break the 2012 record and already exceeds the 2013 year-end total.
November results were mixed for beef exports, with volume down five per cent from a year ago to 96,348mt, while value was 19 per cent higher at $626.7 million. November pork exports were down 13 per cent in volume (168,062mt) and six per cent in value ($519.9 million).
USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng said that while the first 11 months of 2014 reflect a very solid performance for US beef and pork, exports face heightening economic challenges in leading markets in the coming year.
He explained: “Demand for US beef and pork remains strong, as international buyers appreciate the unmatched quality and consistency of our products. But lower slaughter numbers reduced 2014 supplies, which obviously had an impact on prices, and in recent months buying power in many key markets has been affected by slowing economic growth and weaker currencies. Market access restrictions in several important markets, including China and Russia, also had a big impact on opportunities for U.S. exports last year.
“The outlook for 2015 is for more of the same but our industry has proven its ability to identify and develop export outlets in difficult times. When I look across the world as a whole, I still see good potential for further expansion of red meat exports in 2015.”
Key Asian markets drive beef export value to record heights
November beef exports equated to 15 per cent of total production and 12 per cent of muscle cut production, compared to 14 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, a year ago.
For January through November, exports equated to 14 per cent of total production and 11 per cent for muscle cuts (up from 13 per cent and 10 per cent).
Export value per head of fed slaughter was $359.77 in November (up 35 per cent from a year ago) and $293.96 for January-November (up 16 per cent).
November exports to leading market Japan were the smallest since March at 18,449mt – reflecting a seasonal slowdown – but export value ($136.5 million) was still up 35 per cent. January-November exports increased three per cent in volume (225,328mt) and 13 per cent in value ($1.47 billion) as US beef continued to reclaim market share in Japan.
Other January-November beef results include:
- Exports to Hong Kong surpassed $1 billion for the first time ($1.01 billion, up 39 per cent) on volume of 137,435mt (up 19 per cent).
- Strong momentum continued for US beef in South Korea, as exports were up 14 per cent in volume (107,147mt) and 44 per cent in value ($762.8 million). On a value basis, US market share in Korea climbed from 38 per cent in 2013 to 42 per cent in 2014.
- Exports to Taiwan rebounded from a slow start in 2014, reaching 30,984mt (up six per cent) valued at a record $264.8 million (up 15 per cent).
- While exports to Mexico slowed in November, totals were still up 14 per cent in volume (219,712mt) and 28 per cent in value ($1.05 billion) for the year. As USMEF has noted previously, however, data issues from January-May 2013 suggest that year-over-year growth for 2014 is likely overstated.
Pork export pace slows in leading markets Mexico, Japan
November pork exports equated to 25 per cent of total production and 20 per cent of muscle cut production – down from 26 per cent and 22 per cent a year ago.
For January through November, exports equated to 27 per cent of total production (up from 25.5 per cent) and 22 per cent for muscle cuts (up from 21 per cent).
Export value per head slaughtered was $58.99 in November (up three per cent from a year ago) and $63.21 for January-November (up 17 per cent).
Exports to leading volume market Mexico slowed in November (53,433mt, down nine per cent) but January-November volume still reached 617,034mt, up 10 per cent from a year ago. Export value was two per cent lower in November ($121.8 million) but still up 31 per cent year-over-year to a record $1.42 billion.
Pork muscle cut exports to Japan were down 22 per cent in November (25,901mt) and fell 19 per cent in value ($120.3 million). For January-November, muscle cut exports to Japan were down six per cent in volume (354,239mt) and two per cent in value to $1.66 billion.
The Japanese market has been greatly impacted by an influx of pork from the European Union, which has been locked out of its top market, Russia, since January 2014. Data from Japan show that pork/pork variety meat imports from the EU increased 42 per cent through November, reflecting lower prices resulting from the impasse with Russia.
Other January-November pork results include:
- Exports to Korea have already surpassed 2013 year-end totals in both volume (120,724mt, up 40 per cent from a year ago), and value ($392.3 million, up 64 per cent).
- Led by Colombia, exports to the Central/South America region remain on a record volume pace (112,101mt, up three per cent) and have already set a new value record of $316.4 million (up 15 per cent). Although exports to Colombia slowed in the fourth quarter, January-November totals were still up 42 per cent in volume (43,716mt) and 54 per cent in value ($123.8 million).
- While pork exports to Canada were nine per cent lower in volume (191,355mt), export value remained strong at $832.1 million – up seven per cent year-over-year and approaching the full-year record of $855.7 million set in 2012.
November lamb exports lose momentum
US lamb exports were lower in November, breaking a four-month run of year-over-year increases. January-November exports were down 15 per cent in volume (9,673mt) and one per cent in value ($25.6 million).
Exports increased to Mexico, the Caribbean, the United Arab Emirates, Panama and the Philippines, but these results did not fully offset a sharp decline in exports to Canada.
Lamb muscle cut exports fared better, achieving a six per cent increase in value ($15.7 million) despite a six per cent decline in volume (2,621mt).
ThePigSite News Desk
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