CME: US Pork Exports in May Modestly Below Year Ago Levels

by 5m Editor
9 July 2013, at 8:11am

US - Despite a number of challenges, US exports of red met and poultry were for the most part higher in May. Even pork exports, which declined sharply in the first four months of the year, were only modestly below year ago levels and clearly on an uptrend compared to 2012, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

Total exports of fresh/frozen and cooked pork in May were 144,192 MT, four per cent lower than a year ago. The main contributor to the decline in exports has been the loss of the Russian market, which last May took about 12,177 MT of pork. This May pork exports to Russia were zero.

Exports to China and Hong Kong were 19,959 MT, nine per cent lower than a year ago but the highest monthly volume so far this year.

Exports to Mexico have been growing, in part thanks to low priced hams available this past spring. Pork exports to Mexico in May were 38,243 MT, ten per cent higher than a year ago and accounting for 27 per cent of all US shipments.

Exports to Japan at 35,436 MT were four per cent higher than a year ago.

While overall pork exports remain below year ago levels, the export volume has been on an upswing in the last two months and anecdotal reports indicate that exports in June were actually above year ago levels.

This is quite impressive given the lack of exports to Russia. Asian buyers, including those in China, have become more active in the US market despite more strict rules on ractopamine for pork going to China. Some US packers have adjusted by increasing the number of hogs that are not fed ractopamine, thus making them eligible for export there