US Pork exports going steady

September pork export volume was steady with both the August and year-ago levels, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.
calendar icon 7 November 2017
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Pork exports from the US totalled 183,481 metric tons (mt) in September, nearly identical to both the September 2016 and August 2017 volumes. September export value was $503.8 million, up 3% year-over-year. Through the first three quarters of the year, pork exports were 8% ahead of last year’s record pace at 1.79 million mt, while export value climbed 10% to $4.71 billion.

September exports accounted for 23.6% of total pork production and 19.8% for muscle cuts only – both down slightly from a year ago. For January through September, these ratios improved about one percentage point from a year ago to 26.5% of total production and 22.1% for muscle cuts. September export value averaged $48.98 per head slaughtered, up 1% from a year ago. Through the first three quarters of the year, per-head export value was $52.79, up 7%.

Pork exports to Mexico soften in September, but remain on record pace

Pork exports to leading volume market, Mexico, edged modestly lower in September at 63,771 mt – down 4% from a year ago – while export value slipped 7% to $122.1 million. But through the first three quarters of the year, exports to Mexico remained well ahead of last year’s record volume pace at 585,998 mt (up 15%), while export value was up 18% to $1.1 billion.

September pork export results were bolstered by year-over-year increases to South Korea, Canada, Central and South America, the ASEAN region and Taiwan, while export volumes trended lower to leading value market Japan, China/Hong Kong and Australia:

• Pork exports to South Korea climbed 33% in volume (9,362 mt) and 27% in value ($25.9 million) in September, pushing results through the first three quarters of the year up 27% (to 120,633 mt) and 31% (to $330.9 million), respectively. Korea’s pork consumption is on pace to set another new record this year, and U.S. pork fits Korean consumer demand for a wide array of convenience foods and home meal replacement items.

• In Canada, September exports climbed 4% in volume (20,436 mt) and 9% in value ($77.6 million), pushing January-September volume up 3% to 155,713 mt, while value was steady with last year at $592.4 million.

Colombia fuelled another strong month for U.S. pork in South America, where September volume was up 55% to 8,629 mt and value jumped 43% to $21.6 million. Through September, exports were 90% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (72,551 mt) and 91% higher in value ($186.4 million). In leading market Colombia, domestic production has not kept pace with consumption growth, and U.S. pork has become a preferred ingredient for Colombia’s production of processed pork items.

• Led by Honduras and Guatemala, September pork exports to Central America increased 16% in volume (5,176 mt) and 15% in value ($13.1 million). Through September, exports climbed 6% in volume (49,093 mt) and 8% in value ($118.8 million).

• A strong increase in exports to the Philippines pushed September results for the ASEAN region up 33% in volume (4,910 mt) and 64% in value ($17 million). January-September volume increased 24% to 35,194 mt while value jumped 38% to $95.4 million.

• Despite trending lower in September, pork exports to leading value market Japan remained steady with 2016 through the first three quarters of the year at 289,947 mt, while export value increased 3% to $1.19 billion. Chilled pork exports were down 3% from a year ago in volume (158,962 mt) but increased 2% in value to $750 million.

• Exports to China/Hong Kong continue to reflect China’s uptick in domestic pork production, as January-September exports declined 8% in volume (373,814 mt) and slipped 1% in value ($781.1 million). But pork variety meat exports to the region remained strong in September, pushing the January-September results up 11% year-over-year in volume (243,016 mt) and 22% in value ($534.8 million).

• While September exports to Australia declined from a year ago, January-September volume was still up 5% to 50,478 mt while value climbed 11% to $147.4 million.

USMEF CEO, Philip Seng, commented on this month’s outlook:

The September export results really illustrate the importance of having a diverse range of pork export markets.

Even with our three largest markets down year-over-year, volume kept pace with last year and value posted an increase. This is why it is so critical for USMEF to continue identifying and developing new markets for U.S. pork, especially in this time of very large production.

As reported by USMEF. For more information on the September export values for pork and beef, visit the USMEF article here

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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