The lingering global economic slump and low prices for domestic beef and pork products in key export markets contributed to declines in both US beef and pork exports in June, while lamb exports continue to enjoy a strong year, according to statistics compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Through the first six months of the year, 2009 is still shaping up as the second-best year for US pork exports, but it remains 9% behind 2008 in terms of volume and 7% in value. Thus far in 2009, the US has exported 925,339 metric tons (more than 2 billion pounds) of pork and pork variety meat valued at nearly $2.2 billion.
Compared to export totals in June of 2008 – the second-highest single month totals in history – combined pork and pork variety meat exports were down 31% in June of 2009, totalling 133,594 metric tons (294.5 million pounds) valued at $320.4 million.
H1N1 affects pork exports
“The H1N1 influenza virus has been an important factor for US pork exports,” said Jon Caspers, USMEF chairman and a pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa. “We have had market access issues in two of our top six pork export markets (China and Russia), which makes it all the more important to maintain a strong presence in our other key markets.”
In the No. 1 market for US pork exports, Mexico, USMEF recently conducted an extensive training program for personnel in the hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector to familiarize them with US red meat. Mexico has rebounded well from its experience with the flu virus, and US pork exports there are up 52% in volume to 248,694 metric tons (658.5 million pounds) for the first half of 2009.
The United States' No. 2 pork market, Japan, also is up for the first half of the year. Volumes rose 1 percent to 223,290 metric tons (492.3 million pounds) while the value of those exports is up 13 percent to $808 million. For the month of June, export volumes to Japan dipped 13.5 percent versus a year ago while the value of the exports slipped just under 6%.
On the flip side, exports to the No. 3 market, the greater China/Hong Kong region, are off just over half for the year, dropping 52% in volume (to 121,412 metric tons or 267.7 million pounds) and 54% in value to $203.3 million. Russia, the No. 6 pork export market, has seen volumes drop 35% to 60,826 metric tons (134.1 million pounds). The value of pork exports to Russia is down 37% compared to the first half of 2008, reaching $123.9 million.
Source and more info: USMEF