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Beef Exports Continue Upward Trend; Pork Exports Remain Down

19 November 2013

US - Paced by sustained strong performances by the Japan and Hong Kong markets and a rebound in Mexico, US beef exports in September remained ahead of 2012 levels. US pork exports continue to face a number of challenges including access restrictions in Russia and a lingering downturn in the Japan market, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Powered by a 37 per cent jump in the volume of beef exports to Japan, 65 per cent to Mexico and 102 per cent to Hong Kong, US beef exports rose nearly 5 per cent in September and are up 1 per cent for the year. The value of those exports – up nearly 16 per cent to Japan, 56 per cent to Mexico, 182 per cent to Hong Kong and more than 41 per cent to South Korea – drove the value of US beef exports up 14 per cent for the month and they remain 10 per cent ahead of the 2012 pace that set a record of $5.51 billion.

“On the beef side, the industry aggressively pursued the opportunities available for US product when market access was expanded in Japan and Hong Kong, and we are seeing exciting growth in both those markets,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. 

For the month of September, the United States exported 94,698 metric tons of beef valued at $505.5 million, accounting for 13 per cent of total beef production and 11 per cent of muscle cuts (versus 13 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, last September). The export value per head of fed slaughter in September was $249, up from $227.65 a year ago.

Pork exports for the month totaled 166,650 metric tons valued at $478.7 million, accounting for 25 per cent of total US pork production and 21 per cent of muscle cuts (versus 26.7 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively, last September). The export value per head for the month averaged $53, down from $53.43 last year.

Top beef markets

Japan remains the top export market for US beef in 2013. Exports to Japan are up 52 per cent in volume (183,942 metric tons) and 35 per cent in value ($1.1 billion) for the year, accounting for 21.3 per cent of the total volume of US beef exports and 24.2 per cent of the value.

The No. 2 volume market for US beef, Mexico took larger volumes for four consecutive months, with September exports increasing nearly 65 per cent in volume (18,990 metric tons) and 56 per cent in value ($82 million) over year-ago levels. For the year, it is down just 1 per cent in volume (149,887 metric tons) and even in value at $641.7 million.

Canada remains a strong market for US beef, second in value and third in volume for the year at 133,776 metric tons (up 6 per cent) valued at $912.9 million (up 10 per cent).

Other key beef export markets for 2013 include:

  • Hong Kong: up 96 per cent in volume (84,473 metric tons) and 137 per cent in value ($530.9 million)
  • South Korea: down 19 per cent in volume (75,962 metric tons) and 2 per cent in value ($419 million)
  • Middle East: down 3 per cent in volume (111,895 metric tons) and 18 per cent in value ($211.8 million) for the year, with the decline coming in the competitive Egyptian muscle cut market
  • Central/South America: up 24 per cent in volume (32,549 metric tons) and 15 per cent in value ($113.7 million) led by strong growth to Peru, Chile and Colombia
  • Taiwan: up 135 per cent in volume (23,404 metric tons) and 195 per cent in value ($185.7 million)

Top pork markets

Mexico remains the top volume market for US pork in 2013, with volume up 1 per cent to 446,827 metric tons valued at $849.8 million, a 4 per cent increase. Japan is the No. 1 value market at $1.4 billion, a 6 per cent decline year-over-year, while volume is down 8 per cent to 317,710 metric tons.

Boosted by a strong September, exports to China/Hong Kong were even in volume (313,379 metric tons) and up 6 per cent in value ($670.4 million).

Other key pork export markets for 2013 include:

  • Canada: down 1 per cent in volume (171,091 metric tons) but up 1 per cent in value ($637.5 million)
  • Central/South America: up 32 per cent in volume (79,880 metric tons) and 29 per cent in value ($199.4 million) led by strong growth to Colombia, Honduras and Chile
  • South Korea: down 33 per cent in volume (70,776 metric tons) and 36 per cent in value ($194.9 million)
  • ASEAN: up 44 per cent in volume (50,456 metric tons) and 39 per cent in value ($121.6 million) led by strong growth to the Philippines and Singapore

Lamb exports mixed

Lamb exports remained mixed, off 3 per cent in volume for the year (9,720 metric tons) but up 10 per cent in value ($21.5 million). For September, two of the top three markets (Mexico and Canada) declined in double digits while the Caribbean was up in double digits. During the month, total lamb exports were 764 metric tons (down over 42 per cent) valued at $1.9 million (down more than 17 per cent).

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