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US Pork Exports to Mexico Continue Strong Momentum

14 November 2016, at 12:00am

US - September was another solid month for US red meat exports, with pork, beef and lamb totals well above year-ago levels, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

After a somewhat slow first half of the year, pork exports to Mexico moved higher in August and continued to climb in September – posting the second-largest monthly volume on record (66,567 mt, up 14 per cent from a year ago).

September value to Mexico was $131.4 million, up 25 per cent from a year ago and the highest since December 2014. For January through September, exports to Mexico pulled within 4 per cent of last year’s record pace in volume (510,737 mt) and moved 1 per cent higher in value ($939.7 million).

USMEF’s efforts to bolster pork demand in Mexico continue to pay dividends, as per capita pork consumption has increased nearly 20 per cent since 2011 and now exceeds 40 pounds per year.

Another positive factor for pork exports to Mexico has been the slowdown in shipments to China/Hong Kong, where the product mix tends to be similar. While still well above last year, September exports to China/Hong Kong (36,184 mt, up 26 per cent) were down significantly from the May peak of 58,000 mt, reflecting a rebound in China’s domestic pork production.

For January through September, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 70 per cent from a year ago in volume (406,422 mt) and 57 per cent higher in value ($787.3 million).

Other January-September highlights for US pork exports include:

  • While pork exports to Japan were below last year’s pace in both volume (289,594 mt, down 8 per cent) and value ($1.16 billion, down 5 per cent), higher-value chilled exports remain on a record pace – climbing 10 percent from a year ago to 164,087 mt. During periods of large US production, chilled exports to Japan provide an especially important outlet for loins and butts.
  • A rebound in Korea’s pork production led to a slow start for US exports in 2016, but exports to Korea are poised for a strong finish as September results moved higher year-over-year for the second consecutive month. Compared to last year’s large totals, January-September exports to Korea were down 27 per cent in volume (94,774 mt) and 33 per cent in value ($252.1 million).
  • Exports to Colombia have slowed in 2016 (24,851 mt, down 22 per cent, valued at $56 million, down 30 per cent) due to a spike in domestic pork production and other headwinds, including the weak Colombian peso. But exports to Colombia rebounded in September, climbing 35 per cent in volume (3,456 mt) and 29 per cent in value ($8.2 million).
  • Pork exports to Central America cooled in September but remain well above last year’s pace in 2016, totaling 46,426 mt (up 16 per cent) valued at $110 million (up 11 per cent). Exports were higher year-over-year in mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala and more than doubled to Nicaragua, as every Central American market except Belize is currently a top 20 volume destination for US pork.
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