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September Pork Exports Regain Momentum

by 5m Editor
17 November 2009, at 10:47am

US - September pork plus pork variety meat exports reached nearly 154,000 metric tons (339.5 million pounds) valued at $347.8 million, the highest volume since April 2009, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.

Pork exports still trail 2008, but close third quarter with positive momentum

While January-September pork exports contain significant bright spots - including a continued strong performance in Mexico and Japan as well as renewed strength in Canada, Russia and the Greater China region - they trail last year’s record pace by 11 per cent in volume (1.366 million metric tons or 3.01 billion pounds) and 12 per cent in value ($3.195 billion).

Mexico’s September volume surpassed September 2008 by nearly 37 per cent, putting Mexico’s January-September export volume at 369,376 metric tons (814.3 million pounds) valued at $547.7 million – an increase of 38 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, over the first three quarters of 2008.

“It has been a remarkable year for US pork in Mexico, especially when you consider the disruption we experienced in April and May due to H1N1 influenza,“ said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “USMEF worked successfully during this time to maintain our market access in Mexico, and then focused on rebuilding consumer confidence and demand. It is very gratifying to see these efforts paying off and to see the market respond so well to our product.“

The value of US pork exports to Japan increased by 3 per cent to $1.17 billion and, with a strong fourth-quarter performance, pork exports to Japan could surpass last year’s record value of $1.55 billion. Pork export volume to Japan (319,297 metric tons or 703.9 million pounds) is only slightly behind its 2008 pace.

“US pork continues to break new ground in Japan, despite the fact that Japan’s domestic pork production has increased nearly 6 per cent this year,“ Mr Seng said. “Our processed items, for example, are growing dramatically in this market. Exports of US sausage to Japan have increased by more than 25 per cent this year.“

September pork exports to Canada set a new monthly volume record (17,669 metric tons or 38.9 million pounds) – jumping 37 per cent from August and surpassing last September’s total by 11 per cent. Cumulative pork exports to Canada trail their 2008 pace by 2 per cent in volume and 9 per cent in value.

September pork exports to Russia more than doubled their August volume and value, and reached the second-highest total (to July) of the year at 17,637 metric tons (38.9 million pounds) valued at $34.9 million.

Exports to the China/Hong Kong region achieved their highest volume (20,569 metric tons or 45.3 million pounds) since April, despite the continued suspension of US pork exports into mainland China. Exports to Taiwan set a monthly record in September (5,790 metric tons or 12.8 million pounds valued at $9.28 million), due in part to the impact of the recent typhoon on domestic production.

Other markets showing gains over 2008 include Australia (up 25 per cent in volume and 23 per cent in value), the Philippines (up 17 per cent and 14 per cent), the Caribbean (up 33 per cent and 26 per cent) and Central and South America (up 14 per cent and 18 per cent). US pork exports to all of these markets are expected to set new records this year.