US Pork Exports Maintain Strong Pace in January

US - January exports of US beef and pork were up significantly year-over-year, maintaining the solid momentum established in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.
calendar icon 10 March 2017
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January pork exports were up 21 per cent from a year ago in volume (202,667 mt) and jumped 26 per cent in value to $508.6 million. Exports accounted for 26.2 per cent of total pork production and 21.7 per cent for muscle cuts – up significantly from the respective January 2016 shares of 22.3 per cent and 18.8 per cent. Pork export value averaged $50.23 per head slaughtered, up 21 per cent from a year ago.

“The red meat industry entered 2017 with an optimistic outlook, confident that we can continue our recent strong momentum in the international markets,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

“The January results certainly validate that feeling, but we understand that significant challenges still lie ahead. With record-large pork production and beef production also trending higher it’s more important than ever that we capitalize on our abundance of protein, and move more product out of the country by growing US market share in established markets and breaking new ground in emerging destinations.”

Mexico continues to shine for US pork

Coming off the fifth consecutive record year for pork export volume to Mexico, the Mexican market shows no signs of letting up. January volume climbed nearly one-third higher than a year ago to 72,406 mt – the third-largest monthly total on record. Export value was up even more dramatically, increasing 50 per cent to $128.7 million, as Mexico’s strong buying helped sustain higher US ham prices.

Pork exports to China/Hong Kong were up 17 per cent from a year ago in volume (38,012 mt) and 19 per cent in value ($76.2 million). US exports to China/Hong Kong peaked last May at 58,000 mt and regained momentum in November and December, averaging 47,000 mt per month, with strong buying ahead of Chinese New Year. China’s hog prices have softened following the holiday, and are down about 5 per cent year-over-year.

Japan took 31,597 mt of US pork in January, up 6 per cent year-over-year, valued at $125.7 million (up 11 per cent). Following a record year in 2016, US chilled pork exports to Japan continued to grow in January, up 12 per cent from a year ago to 17,619 mt.

Other January highlights for US pork include:

  • Exports to Korea continued their recent upward trend, climbing 32 per cent in volume (16,073 mt) and 48 per cent in value ($45.1 million) year-over-year. Korea’s domestic pork prices have exceeded year-ago levels since late December due to a number of factors, including strong demand (especially for pork belly), relatively high domestic beef prices and most recently concerns about foot-and-mouth disease, which impacted domestic beef production.

  • Exports to Central and South America continue to reflect growing demand for US pork, with both volume (14,240 mt) and value ($33.1 million) up nearly 60 per cent year-over-year. Muscle cut exports to Colombia were the second-largest on record in January – trailing only November 2016 – at 6,155 mt. Combined muscle cut and variety meat exports were also higher for Honduras, Guatemala, Panama and Peru.

  • Australia – a key destination for boneless hams and other raw materials for further processing – maintained its recent strong momentum with volume increasing 26 per cent to 6,498 mt and value up 34 per cent to $17.9 million.

  • Exports to the Dominican Republic were record-large at 2,746 mt valued at $6.2 million, up 24 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, from a year ago.
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