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US Pork: Another Export Record Set

by 5m Editor
15 July 2008, at 8:36am

US - Export sales continue to provide welcome news for the U.S. beef and pork industries, with May pork sales setting yet another monthly record while beef exports reached their highest levels since December of 2003.

“The shortage in the global meat supply, combined with record pork production in the United States and the continued weak dollar are putting U.S. beef and pork in a very advantageous position in many export markets,” said Erin Daley, manager of research and analysis for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Daley noted that China/Hong Kong has emerged as a key market for U.S. pork since the fourth quarter of last year since that country’s pork production has declined.

“It’s not so much that consumption is up,” said Daley. “Rather, production is down, and U.S. pork remains undervalued.” Russia is the exception, however, where pork production is up, but not enough to keep pace with rising consumption.

Pork export details

he new monthly record for pork (including variety meat exports) was set at 196,118 metric tons or 432.4 million pounds (valued at nearly $452 million) in May. Export volume was up 95 percent compared to May 2007 and 12 percent more than the April 2008 record. This put January-May pork (including variety meat) exports at 825,800 metric tons (1.8 billion pounds) valued at $1.86 billion, up 60 percent and 51 percent respectively from the same period last year.

China/Hong Kong was the largest destination for U.S. pork exports in May, with exports totaling 55,293 metric tons or 121.9 million pounds (a new record for the region surpassing 42,331 metric tons [93.3 million pounds] in April) valued at $99.4 million, up from just 10,706 metric tons (23.6 million pounds) valued at $15.7 million in May last year. For January-May, exports to China/Hong Kong totaled 200,093 metric tons (441.1 million pounds) valued at $343 million, up 336 percent and 410 percent, respectively. January-May exports to China/Hong Kong surpassed annual exports for the whole of 2007.

Exports to Japan exceeded 40,000 metric tons (88.2 million pounds) again in May after setting a record in March (40,853 metric tons) and were valued at $132 million. For January-May, exports totaled 184,962 metric tons (407.7 million pounds) valued at $592 million, up 19 percent and 22 percent respectively — still the largest market in value terms.

Other key U.S. pork export markets in May included:

  • Mexico rebounded in May to 29,034 metric tons (64 million pounds) to put the January-May total at 132,716 metric tons (292.6 million pounds) valued at $213 million, up 16 percent and 18 percent respectively, but January-May exports remain 15 percent below the record levels of 2006.
  • Russia nearly kept the pace of the record level set during April, with May volumes at 18,122 metric tons (39.5 million pounds), up 124 percent from May 2007. For January-May, exports totaled 76,456 metric tons (168.5 million pounds) valued at $158.9 million, up 137 percent and 142 percent, respectively, over last year.
  • The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) also set a new record in May at 7,323 metric tons (16.1 million pounds), mainly to the Philippines and Vietnam. The January-May total was 22,752 metric tons (50.1 million pounds) valued at more than $40 million, up 363 percent and 335 percent respectively. The Philippines took 12,149 metric tons (26.8 million pounds), Vietnam 6,505 metric tons (14.3 million pounds) and 3,892 metric tons (8.6 million pounds) went to Singapore.

Further Reading

- You can view the full US pork export statistics by clicking here.

5m Editor