August was another outstanding month for U.S. pork and beef exports, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports reached their highest monthly volume of the year at 186,068 metric tons, and the second-highest value total of all time at $531.2 million.
Pork exports surge in Asia, Canada, Russia, Southern Hemisphere markets August pork exports were 27 percent higher than a year ago in terms of volume and 44 percent higher in value (surpassed only by the record $553.6 million, set in March 2011). This performance pushed year-to-date exports to nearly 1.44 million metric tons valued at $3.82 billion – an increase of 16 percent in volume and 23 percent in value over last year’s pace. August exports equated to 27.3 percent of production with a value of $56.27 per head, compared to 22.4 percent and $40.87 in August 2010. For the year, pork exports equated to 27.3 percent of production with a per head value of $53.98.
August exports to Japan, the leading value market for U.S. pork, were 28 percent higher than a year ago in volume (40,887 metric tons) and 37 percent higher in value ($168.4 million). For the year, exports to Japan were 13 percent ahead of last year’s record pace in terms of volume (328,353 metric tons) and 16 percent higher in value ($1.27 billion).
South Korea continues to be a bright spot for U.S. pork as August exports more than doubled last year’s volume total (10,268 metric tons) and more than tripled the value ($31.2 million). For the year, exports to Korea were 142 percent higher in volume (146,627 metric tons) and 192 percent higher in value ($374.5 million). These totals have already set new full-year records for Korea, topping the previous highs set in 2008 of 133,532 metric tons valued at $284 million.
Exports to China also continued to surge, with a record August volume (35,636 metric tons) pushing this year’s volume up 336 percent (188,622 metric tons) to go along with a 237 percent increase in value ($316.8 million). Exports to Canada were up 9 percent in volume (131,004 metric tons) and 14 percent in value ($464.2 million). August export volume to Russia was the second-highest of the year at 8,213 metric tons. Though export volume to Russia (49,143 metric tons) was down about 12 percent for the year, value was up 22 percent to $149.4 million. Another market showing exceptional growth was Australia, up 18 percent for the year in volume (45,865 metric tons) and 39 percent in value to $147.4 million (less than $1 million short of the full-year value record established last year). Exports to Central-South America were up 22 percent to 44,980 metric tons with volume up 33 percent to $113.4 million. Existing trade agreements have assisted exports to this region and ratification of the Colombia and Panama FTAs will foster further growth.
Mexico continues to be the top volume destination for U.S. pork at 344,875 metric tons – down 3 percent from last year’s record pace. August volume of 44,641 metric tons was steady with last year but up 13 percent from July, and the value of August’s exports to Mexico rose more than 10 percent. For the year, export value to Mexico was up 2 percent to just under $654 million.
“It is gratifying to see U.S. pork exports performing so well in key Asian markets and in so many countries across the globe,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, who has just returned from the World Pork Conference in Bonn, Germany. “Many regions of the world are facing very tight pork supplies and exports from many pork-producing countries are stagnant. The efficiency and resourcefulness of U.S. producers have allowed our industry to fill this need, and through aggressive campaigns such as the global pork butt initiative we are moving a wider range of cuts than ever in overseas markets. This has solidified our position as the world’s leading pork exporter.”