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August Pork Exports Soar to New Heights

by 5m Editor
17 October 2011, at 10:51am

US - August was another outstanding month for US pork and beef exports, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US 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. Both pork and beef exports are on pace to set new value records in 2011 and to eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever.

Pork exports surge in Asia, Canada, Russia, Southern Hemisphere markets

August pork exports were 27 per cent higher than a year ago in terms of volume and 44 per cent 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 per cent in volume and 23 per cent in value over last year’s pace. August exports equated to 27.3 per cent of production with a value of $56.27 per head, compared to 22.4 per cent and $40.87 in August 2010. For the year, pork exports equated to 27.3 per cent of production with a per head value of $53.98.

August exports to Japan, the leading value market for US pork, were 28 per cent higher than a year ago in volume (40,887 metric tons) and 37 per cent higher in value ($168.4 million). For the year, exports to Japan were 13 per cent ahead of last year’s record pace in terms of volume (328,353 metric tons) and 16 per cent higher in value ($1.27 billion).

South Korea continues to be a bright spot for US 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 per cent higher in volume (146,627 metric tons) and 192 per cent 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 per cent (188,622 metric tons) to go along with a 237 per cent increase in value ($316.8 million). Exports to Canada were up 9 per cent in volume (131,004 metric tons) and 14 per cent 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 per cent for the year, value was up 22 per cent to $149.4 million. Another market showing exceptional growth was Australia, up 18 per cent for the year in volume (45,865 metric tons) and 39 per cent 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 per cent to 44,980 metric tons with volume up 33 per cent 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 US pork at 344,875 metric tons – down 3 per cent from last year’s record pace. August volume of 44,641 metric tons was steady with last year but up 13 per cent from July, and the value of August’s exports to Mexico rose more than 10 per cent. For the year, export value to Mexico was up 2 per cent to just under $654 million.

"It is gratifying to see US 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 US 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."