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July Pork Exports Continue to Surge

by 5m Editor
9 September 2011, at 12:22pm

US - July was another very strong month for US beef and pork exports, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Both are on pace to set new export value records in 2011 and to eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever.

July pork exports totaled 169,547 metric tons valued at $480.06 million – an increase of 16 per cent in volume and 24 per cent in value. This pushed the 2011 total to 1.25 million metric tons valued at $3.3 billion – increases of 14 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, over last year.

July exports equated to 28.7 per cent of production with a value of $59.35 per head, compared to 23.8 per cent and $45.95 in July 2010. For the year, pork exports equated to 27.3 per cent of production with a per head value of $53.63.

“July was another outstanding month for red meat exports, as we continued to expand the presence of US beef and pork throughout the world,“ said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.

“This is a testament to the commitment US producers and exporters have made to the international markets. Despite market access restrictions, high tariffs and other trade barriers, the investments we are making in foreign markets are paying tremendous dividends. And this success couldn’t come at a better time, as it is adding jobs to the US economy and delivering much-needed returns to our farmers and ranchers. Those producers are dealing with high operating costs, adverse weather and many other significant challenges, and the export markets are clearly the best thing they have going in terms of profitability.“

Japan, Korea critical to steady growth in pork exports

With an impressive July performance of $157.6 million, US pork exports to Japan shot past the $1 billion mark for the seventh consecutive year. Coming off a record value year of more than $1.6 billion in 2010, exports to Japan were up 11 per cent in volume through July at 287,466 metric tons and up 14 per cent in value at just over $1.1 billion.

Exports to South Korea continued to surge as a wider range of US pork cuts continue to find success in Korea’s retail and foodservice sectors. Exports were up 144 per cent in volume through July at 136,359 metric tons and nearly tripled in value to $343.4 million.

Other highlights include:

  • While year-over-year exports to Mexico are down four per cent in volume and steady in value, it remains a critical market for US pork. Mexico is the leading volume destination for US pork at 300,234 metric tons so far this year and ranks second to Japan in value at $561 million. Mexico’s retaliatory duties on bone-in pork shoulders, hams and pork skins were cut in half earlier this summer with a compromise agreement on the NAFTA trucking dispute, but remain a hindrance to US exports. USMEF is hopeful that these duties will be removed entirely next month.

  • Exports to China through the first seven months of 2011, which were hindered in 2010 due to lingering restrictions related to A-H1N1 influenza, totaled 152,986 metric tons valued at $244.6 million. This is higher in volume and only slightly lower in value than the pace established in 2008, when pork exports to China reached an all-time high.

  • While widely known as a successful pork exporter, Chile also has a rapidly growing appetite for US pork. Exports to Chile in 2011 have climbed 186 per cent in volume (9,103 metric tons) and 138 per cent in value ($21.1 million) over last year. This helped exports to the Central and South America region grow by 19 per cent in volume (38,758 metric tons) and 32 per cent in value ($98.2 million) over last year.

  • Exports to the Oceania region so far this year increased 16 per cent in volume (45,921 metric tons) and 41 per cent in value ($146.7 million). Australia accounts for about 90 per cent of these totals, though exports to New Zealand have increased by more than 20 per cent in value to $11.6 million.