Sales to China and several up-and-coming markets helped pork exports stay nearly even with last year’s record-setting pace, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Pork exports were bolstered by the largest sales to the China/Hong Kong region since February, as well as strong performances by the Central/South America and ASEAN regions. Total exports for August were down a fraction in volume (174,281 metric tons) but up 1% in value ($501.1 million), while 2013 totals were down 4.6% in volume (1,405,078 metric tons) and 4.5% in value ($3.94 billion).
The continued absence of the Russian market – closed since February – continues to hinder pork exports. Excluding Russia, US pork exports to all other markets are only down 1% this year.
Per-head export values remain strong
Pork exports produced solid per-head values in August. The export value for pork, per-head totals were $52.43, up from $49.84 last year. Pork exports accounted for 21% of muscle cut production and 25% of total production (including variety meat) in August, similar to last year.
Top pork markets
Mexico and Japan remain the top two markets for U.S. pork exports in 2013. Coming off double-digit increases in each of the past four months, exports to Mexico, the top volume market, slowed slightly in August, but volume remains up 1% for the year at 396,605 metric tons and value is up 3% to $747.5 million.
Top value market Japan dipped 14% in volume and 10% in value in August. Totals for 2013 stand at 284,970 metric tons valued at $1.26 billion, down 7% and 6%, respectively.
A rebound in exports to China/Hong Kong in August (up 28.7% in volume to 39,202 metric tons valued at $83.2 million, a 37.5% increase) helped bring year-to-date totals to 278,253 metric tons (down 2%) valued at $592.1 million (up 4%).
Other top-performing pork markets in August include:
- Central/South America: up 26% in volume (9,011 metric tons) and 27% in value ($22.2 million) – exports to Chile jumped 276% in volume (1,820 metric tons) and 197% in value ($4.3 million) while exports to the largest market in the region, Colombia, were up 30% in volume and value (2,531 metric tons and $6.5 million)
- ASEAN region: up 38% in volume (5,734 metric tons) and 55% in value ($14.3 million) – paced by Singapore's 175% increase in volume (1,958 metric tons) and 263% jump in value ($5.4 million) and growth to the largest market in the region: the Philippines up 18% in volume (3,744 metric tons) and value up 30% ($8.8 million)