U.S. pork and beef exports remained strong in June, pushing export value for both products to a record first-half pace according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
June pork exports totaled 181,531 metric tons (mt), up 7 percent from a year ago, while export value increased 25 percent to $585.1 million. In the first half of 2014, pork export volume (1.15 million mt, +9 percent) and value ($3.4 billion, +17 percent) achieved record highs.
Beef exports were up 5 percent in volume (106,609 mt) in June and set a new monthly value record of $631.7 million (+12 percent). First-half export value also set a new record of $3.27 billion (+16 percent). Export volume was 585,953 mt in the first half, up 8 percent from a year ago but trailing the 2011 record.
Despite intense competition, U.S. pork performing well in Asia
Pork export value per head slaughtered was a record-high $72.24 in June, up $15 from a year ago. The percentage of U.S. production exported was 25 percent for muscle cuts and 29 percent when including both muscle cuts and variety meat – up from 24 percent and 28 percent, respectively, in June 2013.
With European pork absent from the Russian market for the past six months due to an impasse over African swine fever, competition has intensified in key Asian markets. But U.S. pork still achieved first-half increases in South Korea and Japan.
“USMEF has focused for many years on establishing loyal customers in these markets and impressing upon them the quality and consistency of U.S. pork,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “That loyalty is being tested in this increasingly competitive environment, but our results have held up very well.”
First-half highlights for U.S. pork included:
- Exports to Korea continued well ahead of last year’s pace, as high domestic pork prices helped fuel imports. First-half volume was up 31 percent to 77,209 mt, while value increased 48 percent to $236.3 million.
- Pork muscle cut exports to Japan were up 3 percent in volume (213,653 mt), and 5 percent in value ($969.3 million).
- Exports to Mexico posted a very strong first half, increasing 15 percent in volume (333,072 mt) and 42 percent in value ($751.6 million).
- Colombia has emerged as the pacesetter for U.S. pork in the Central/South America region, with exports increasing 83 percent in volume (25,779 mt) and nearly doubling in value ($69.7 million, +95 percent). Exports to the entire region increased 12 percent in volume (59,619 mt) and 21 percent in value ($160.8 million).
- After a down year in 2013, exports to Australia rebounded nicely – increasing 17 percent in volume (33,149 mt) and 25 percent in value ($114.3 million).