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November Pork Exports Continue 2009 Rebound

by 5m Editor
18 January 2010, at 10:15am

US - US beef and pork exports continued their rebound from the slump earlier in the year, with pork exports reaching their highest level of 2009 in November, according to statistics released by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

For the month, total pork (muscle cuts plus variety meat) exports reached 169,547 metric tons (373.8 million pounds) – essentially even with the volume for November during the record-shattering pace of 2008. This marked the first time monthly pork exports have reached or exceeded 2008 levels since March of 2009.

November’s total beef exports reached 76,693 metric tons (169 million pounds), with muscle cuts enjoying a 23 per cent hike over year-ago levels while variety meat slipped 27 per cent.

While the export increase is a positive sign that economic indicators around the globe are pointing up, total beef and pork exports remain behind 2008 levels. For the first 11 months of 2009, the US has exported 819,778 metric tons (1.8 billion pounds) of beef valued at more than $2.8 billion and 1.7 million metric tons (3.7 billion pounds) of pork valued at nearly $4 billion.

Beef is down 10 per cent in volume and 16 per cent in value compared to 2008 while pork is down 10 per cent in volume and 13 per cent in value.

Pork stimulus package

“We are devoting significant resources to pork marketing this quarter with the support of $1.35 million in additional funding from the soybean industry at the end of 2009,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

“The response from the soybean industry to support pork exports is very gratifying,” said Mr Seng, referring to the “2009 Pork Stimulus Package” funded by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, United Soybean Board, Nebraska Soybean Board and South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

By combining the fund with matching funds from the Market Access Program, the Foreign Market Development program, third-party contributions and other non-checkoff funds, USMEF has been able to leverage the contributions into a pool of more than $4 million for a concerted pork marketing push in Japan, Mexico and South Korea.

Mexico remains the volume leader for total US pork exports, purchasing 451,483 metric tons (995.3 million pounds) valued at more than $672 million through the first 11 months of 2009 – a 30 per cent hike in volume and 9 percent in value over last year.

Japan remains the value leader for US pork, importing 388,596 metric tons (746.5 million pounds) valued at more than $1.4 billion – a seven per cent drop in volume and one per cent drop in value compared to last year.

The biggest contributors to the decline in US pork exports in 2009 are China and Russia, both of which imposed barriers to US pork related to the H1N1 virus while attempting to rebuild domestic swine herds. Pork exports to the greater Hong Kong/China region are down 39 per cent in volume and 42 per cent in value thus far this year, while exports to Russia are down 38 per cent in volume and 41 per cent in value. Together, they account for 80 per cent of the year’s drop-off in the value of US pork exports and 116 per cent of the volume decline.

The most significant gains in 2009 pork exports have been reported in Mexico, the Philippines (38 per cent increase in volume and 32 per cent in value), Taiwan (38 per cent in volume and 28 per cent in value) and the Caribbean (21 per cent in volume and 13 per cent in value).

Complete statistics are available by clicking here.