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USMEF: Pork Exports Move at Torrid Pace

by 5m Editor
17 September 2008, at 9:52am

US - U.S. pork and beef exports continued their strong performance in July, as pork exports remain on an all-time record pace for the year and beef exports are achieving levels of success not seen since 2003.

The torrid pace of 2008 pork exports has been largely attributed to skyrocketing volumes of pork destined for China/Hong Kong. But even a significant July slowdown in this region could not break the global momentum for U.S. pork, as it was offset by strong growth in other major export markets.

A new monthly record was set for pork and pork variety meat exports to Mexico in July, totaling 38,973 metric tons (85.9 million pounds) valued at more than $75 million. Exports to Mexico in the first seven months of 2008 have totaled 202,280 metric tons (445.9 million pounds) valued at $345.7 million - an increase of 31 percent in volume and 39 percent in value over last year. July pork exports to Russia were also record-large at 19,903 metric tons (43.8 million pounds) valued at $42.3 million, putting Russia’s total for January-July 2008 at 113,434 metric tons (250.1 million pounds) valued at $240 million. This represents an increase of 153 percent in volume and 158 percent in value over the same period last year.

January-July pork exports to Japan – the largest destination for U.S. pork in terms of value - totaled 259,144 metric tons (571.3 million pounds) valued at $849.7 million. This is an increase of 24 percent in volume and 27 percent in value over last year. Canada has shown similar results, as pork exports to Canada in the first seven months of 2008 jumped 24 percent in volume and 21 percent in value over last year (to 96,106 metric tons or 211.8 million pounds valued at $313.5 million). Exports to South Korea totaled 82,106 metric tons (181 million pounds) valued at $172.2 million during the same period, an increase of 41 percent in volume and 23 percent in value over last year.

Pork and pork variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong set a series of monthly records during the first half of 2008, with the volume rising 324 percent over the same period in 2007. But with China taking significant measures to increase its domestic pork production, slower sales of U.S. pork have been anticipated in the second half of this year. The volume and value of July pork exports to China/Hong Kong declined about 41 percent compared to June, but still remained well ahead (130 percent by volume, 188 percent by value) of the results achieved in July 2007.

“Pork exports to China/Hong Kong have been riding an astonishing wave this year, and we knew this pace could not be sustained forever,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Philip Seng. “But these latest results show the diversity and depth of demand that U.S. pork has achieved worldwide. We’re not overly dependent on a single market.”

5m Editor