Beef exports remained on a record-setting pace in October while pork exports put up one of their strongest performances of the year, yet remain behind 2012’s record-high levels, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Pork exports in October were the largest of the year on a value basis at $539.9 million, and second-largest in volume at 186,637 metric tons, but still declined 11 and 14 percent, respectively, from last October’s all-time single-month highs for both volume and value. Both the ASEAN and the Central and South America region recorded double-digit increases, as they have all year, but other key markets trailed 2012’s historic highs.
“The ebbs and flows of export markets require us to make continual adjustments,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “For example, Japan remains the United States’ top value market for pork exports, but relentless competition from other international suppliers is making it tougher for us to maintain our market share.”
Seng also noted while the US Congress continues to debate budget cuts that could affect spending on programs like the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program that support US agricultural exports, the European Commission has proposed more than tripling its spending to support EU agricultural and agri-food sector products.
“There is no question that exports create jobs and support a positive balance of trade,” said Seng. “The European Commission sees that link and is looking to put significantly more resources into their export initiative, so we can expect to face even heavier competition in the top value markets going forward.”
Top pork markets
Mexico, the leading volume market for US pork, dipped 2 percent in volume during October (55,152 metric tons) while the value increased 5.6 percent to $114.6 million. Through the first 10 months of the year, export volume to Mexico (501,979 metric tons) was steady with last year’s record pace and export value ($964.4 million) was 4 percent higher.
October sales to the top value market, Japan, slipped nearly 8 percent in value ($173.5 million) on 15 percent lower volume (38,322 metric tons). For January through October, exports were down 9 percent in volume (356,032 metric tons) and 6 percent in value ($1.58 billion).
US pork export value in October averaged $51.79 per head, down 7 percent from last year. Exports accounted for 20 percent of pork muscle cuts and nearly 24 percent of total pork production, compared to 23 and 27.4 percent last year.
Other key pork export results in October were:
• China/Hong Kong region: 36,531 metric tons (down nearly 6 percent) valued at $80.9 million (down 4 percent)
• Canada: 18,831 metric tons (down 7 percent) valued at $69.3 million (down 6 percent)
• Central/South America: 13,040 metric tons (up more than 23 percent) valued at $33.9 million (up 30 percent) – led by a 65 percent increase in volume to Colombia (3,916 metric tons) and 66 percent jump in value ($10.7 million)
• South Korea: 5,566 metric tons (down 60 percent) valued at $16 million (down 57 percent)
• ASEAN: 6,912 metric tons (up more than 17 percent) valued at $15.2 million (up more than 15 percent)
For more info on beef and lamb exports: USMEF