US October Pork Exports Largest Since 2014

19 December 2016, at 6:00am

US - US pork and beef exports continued to build momentum in October, with both achieving double-digit increases from a year ago, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

October pork exports totaled 201,936 metric tons (mt), up 14 percent year-over-year and the largest monthly volume since March 2014. Export value was $521.1 million, up 16 percent. For January through October, export volume was 6 percent above last year’s pace at 1.86 million mt, while export value was up 3 percent to $4.79 billion.

Exports accounted for 25.5 percent of total pork production in October and 21 percent for muscle cuts only. For January-October, exports accounted for 25 percent of total production – up a full percentage point from a year ago – and 21 percent for muscle cuts, up slightly. Export value per head slaughtered averaged $47 in October, up 8 percent year-over-year, while January-October export value averaged $49, steady with the same period last year.

“With pork production at a record level and beef production also on the rise, it is imperative that we work to expand global demand and accelerate the volume of product entering the international markets,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

“With strong support from USDA, our U.S. industry partners and our international contacts, USMEF has intensified its marketing efforts in key destinations and capitalized on opportunities to regain market share – not only in mainstay markets such as Japan, Mexico and South Korea, but in a wide range of countries. This has laid the groundwork for a strong finish to this year and further growth in 2017.”

Led by Mexico, pork exports strengthen in Western Hemisphere markets

Pork exports to Mexico remained strong in October, increasing 9 percent from a year ago in volume (65,271 mt) and 6 percent in value ($115.2 million). For January through October, exports to Mexico pulled within 2 percent of last year’s record pace in volume (576,008 mt) and remained 1 percent higher in value ($1.05 billion). This strong performance has been especially supportive of prices for U.S. hams, the highest-volume export item to Mexico. Through October, in pesos, U.S. ham prices were 21 percent higher than a year ago while demand in Mexico remained strong. Ham prices strengthened further in November, and weekly export data showed even larger shipments to Mexico. To overcome the difficult exchange rate situation, USMEF has emphasized the quality and consistency of U.S hams with Mexico’s meat processors and worked with these companies on new product development.

Pork exports to leading value market Japan were also strong in October, increasing 4 percent from a year ago in volume (30,987 mt) and 9 percent in value ($127.9 million). Through the first 10 months of the year, exports to Japan were 7 percent below last year’s pace in volume (320,491 mt) and 4 percent lower in value ($1.29 billion). Chilled pork exports to Japan remained on a record pace through October, totaling 180,793 mt, up 9 percent year-over-year.

Pork muscle cut exports to China/Hong Kong continued to moderate in October, reflecting a rebound in China’s domestic pork production, but variety meat exports to the region remained strong. For January through October, total pork/pork variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong were up 66 percent from a year ago in volume (450,257 mt) and 55 percent higher in value ($878.8 million).

Other January-October highlights for U.S. pork exports include:

  • After a slow first half of 2016, exports to Colombia continue to rebound. Though January-October exports were still down 13 percent year-over-year in volume (30,713 mt) and 20 percent in value ($70.6 million), October exports climbed 68 percent in volume (5,862 mt) and 77 percent in value ($14.6 million). October muscle cut exports to Colombia were the largest on record at 5,428 mt, up 58 percent from a year ago.
  • Following a slowdown in September, pork exports to Central America rebounded strongly in October, especially in Honduras, Guatemala and Panama. January-October exports to Central America were up 18 percent from a year ago in volume (53,259 mt) and 12 percent in value ($126.9 million).
  • Exports to the Dominican Republic were 9 percent above last year’s pace in volume (20,945 mt) and 4 percent higher in value ($45.8 million), including a 32 percent increase in October export value ($4.8 million).
  • Although January-October exports to Korea remain well below last year’s large totals, demand has strengthened in recent months. Pork muscle cut exports to Korea reached 11,469 mt in October, the largest since March. Combined pork/pork variety meat exports were 12,121, up 11 percent from a year ago. October export value climbed 26 percent to $33.8 million.
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