Although relentless snowstorms in Washington, D.C. have delayed the full release of year-end 2009 export data for U.S. pork and beef, the U.S. Meat Export Federation has compiled a summary of the preliminary results in major markets.

Even though year-end exports of both pork and beef were down compared to 2008, December results were very strong and U.S. meat exports finished 2009 on a high note. U.S. pork and beef exports showed increasing momentum in the final months of the year as the economies and currencies of several major trading partners strengthened and consumer confidence improved in foreign markets.

December pork plus pork variety meat exports were 8 percent higher than December 2008, with muscle cut exports increasing by 14 percent. For the entire year, exports trailed 2008 by about 11 percent in value ($4.33 billion vs. $4.88 billion) and 9 percent in volume (1.87 billion vs. 2.05 billion metric tons).

However, these totals exceed 2007 results by 43 percent in volume and 37 percent in value – easily making 2009 the second-best year on record for U.S. pork exports. Mexico led the way in volume with 504,029 metric tons – an increase of 27 percent over 2008. Japan was once again the value leader for U.S. pork, nearly matching its all-time single market record ($1.540 billion vs. $1.545 billion in 2008).

December beef plus beef variety meat exports were 9 percent above December 2008 in terms of volume, and 4 percent higher in value. For the entire year, exports trailed 2008 by about 9 percent in volume (899,707 vs. 984,712 metric tons) and 15 percent in value ($3.09 billion vs. $3.62 billion).

Source: USMEF