Pork and beef exports continue their sizzling performance in 2011, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

For August, U.S. pork exports reached their highest monthly volume of 2011 at 186,068 metric tons, and the second-highest value total of all time at $531.2 million, Beef exports set an all-time monthly value record at $514.2 million on a strong volume of 116,405 million tons. 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.

August pork exports were 27 percent higher than a year ago in terms of volume and 44 percent 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. August exports were 27.3 percent of U.S. hog production with an industry value of $56.27 per head. For the year, pork exports equated to 27.3 percent of production with a per head value of $53.98.

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

South Korea continues to be a bright spot for U.S. 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 percent higher in volume (146,627 metric tons) and 192 percent 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 percent (188,622 metric tons) to go along with a 237 percent increase in value ($316.8 million). Exports to Canada were up 9 percent in volume (131,004 metric tons) and 14 percent 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 percent for the year, value was up 22 percent to $149.4 million. Another market showing exceptional growth was Australia, up 18 percent for the year in volume (45,865 metric tons) and 39 percent in value to $147.4 million (less than $1 million short of the full-year value record established last year).

Mexico continues to be the top volume destination for U.S. pork at 344,875 metric tons – down 3 percent from last year’s record pace. August volume of 44,641 metric tons was steady with last year but up 13 percent from July. For the year, export value to Mexico was up 2 percent to just under $654 million.

“It is gratifying to see U.S. pork exports performing so well in key Asian markets and in so many countries across the globe,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “The efficiency and resourcefulness of U.S. pork 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.”

A strong August performance pushed beef exports 26 percent higher for the year in volume (857,680 metric tons) and 39 percent higher in value ($3.58 billion). August exports equated to 14 percent of total U.S. beef production with a value of $214.11 per head of fed slaughter.

Beef exports to Canada remained very strong at 19,945 metric tons valued at $114.6 million. This was 44 percent higher in volume and 55 percent higher in value than in August 2010. For the first eight months of the year, Canada has been the leading value destination for U.S. beef at $709.7 million.

Mexico was the volume pacesetter for U.S. beef at 169,963 metric tons and second in value at $646 million. The Middle East continued to shine as a region of tremendous growth for U.S. beef, with totals through August running 37 higher than last year in volume (113,229 metric tons) and 46 percent higher in value ($220.7 million). Asian markets were also an excellent source of growth for U.S. beef exports.

“We are very excited about the growth of U.S. beef exports, not only in traditionally strong markets but in emerging destinations as well,” Seng said.

Source: USMEF