Paced by strong performances from leading markets, both US beef and pork exports continued their upward trend in July, with beef sales setting new highs for the year, while lamb exports slowed slightly for the month but remain up for the year, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Double-digit increases to the top three markets (Japan, Mexico and Canada) helped US beef exports jump 9 percent in volume in July to 118,913 metric tons valued at $622.8 million, a 21 percent increase over last year. For the year, beef exports are up a fraction in volume (661,473 metric tons) and 9 percent in value to $3.45 billion.
Strong performances by Mexico, the China/Hong Kong region and Central/South America boosted pork exports by 8.5 percent in volume in July to 178,794 metric tons valued at $502.6 million, a 7.5 increase over 2012. Through July, pork exports were down 5 percent in volume and value, at 1.23 million metric tons and $3.44 billion. Excluding Russia, which has been closed to U.S. pork and beef since February, exports were down just 1 percent from last year’s record pace.
Lamb exports dipped a modest 3.2 percent in July on 15.7 percent lower volumes, but remain up by double digits for the year.
Pork growth in spite of challenges
Pork exports in July were paced by the continued rebound of the Mexican market, strong variety meat demand in the China/Hong Kong region and rapid growth in both Central/South America (led by Colombia) and the ASEAN region (led by the Philippines). The 8.5 percent volume and 7.5 percent value increases in July were tempered by continued access issues in Russia and heavy competition in Japan.
“We are encouraged by the positive response to USMEF’s retail pork imaging campaign in Mexico, which is in direct correlation to sales growth there,” said Seng. “On the other hand, Japan is the highest-value pork market in the world, and we are facing intensified competition. We are one of 25 countries exporting pork to Japan, and while the US industry has deemphasized the priority of our promotional programs in Japan, our competitors are very aggressively working to take our market share. As a result, our share of Japan’s pork import market is down 3 percent so far this year.”
Year-to-date, Japan’s total pork imports from all sources are down 3 percent to 548,608 metric tons, but imports from the US are down 7 percent (245,938 metric tons). At the same time, exports from four leading competitors (Mexico, Chile, Spain and Poland) are up by double digits for the year.
Top-performing pork export markets include:
• Mexico: up 21 percent in volume (55,567 metric tons) and 29 percent in value ($114.3 million) in July, and up 2 percent in volume (346,368 metric tons) and 3 percent in value ($645 million) over the record pace of 2012
• Central/South America: up 49 percent in volume (9,437 metric tons) and 48 percent in value ($23 million) in July, and up 36 percent in volume (62,774 metric tons) and 34 percent in value ($156.3 million) for the year
• ASEAN: up 60 percent in volume (6,407 metric tons) and 53.8 percent in value ($14.4 million) in July, and up 44 percent in volume (38,079 metric tons) and 36 percent in value ($91.6 million) for the year
US pork exports in July accounted for 22 percent of muscle cut and 27 percent of pork and variety meat production, similar to last year (23 and 26.5 percent respectively) with a per-head export value of $55.35, down from last year’s $56.04 total.
For more info on beef and lamb, visit USMEF