U.S. pork exports remained well ahead of last year’s record pace through February, while beef exports trended slightly lower in volume but posted strong results in terms of value, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Note that export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meats unless otherwise noted. Also, one metric ton equals 2,204.622 pounds.
Pork export volume (187,629 metric tons) was 9 percent higher than in February 2011, while value ($526.2 million) was up 21 percent. For the first two months of the year, pork exports totaled 399,086 mt valued at $1.09 billion. That’s an increase of 18 percent and 31 percent, respectively. This is the first time U.S. pork export value has reached the $1 billion mark after just two months.
February beef export volume (87,131 mt) was 3 percent lower than a year ago but export value remained exceptionally strong, increasing 10 percent to $409 million. Through the first two months of the year, beef exports totaled 176,585 mt (-2 percent) valued at $815 million (+12 percent).
“Export results were quite solid, especially considering the impact of market access issues in some destinations, particularly Taiwan and Southeast Asia,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “We continue to expand the presence of U.S. pork in all key destinations - especially in North Asia and in Western Hemisphere markets. In the beef complex, export volume may be struggling somewhat due to price, but we are having great success directing beef cuts to the markets that value them most. This is keeping beef export value very strong – well ahead of the record pace established last year.”
February pork exports equated to 27.7 percent of total production when including both muscle cuts and variety meat, 24 percent for muscle cuts only. This compares to 27 percent and 22 percent, respectively, in February 2011. Export value equated to $58.17 per hog slaughtered, up 14 percent from last year’s figure of $51.06.
Exports to Mexico, the largest volume market for U.S. pork, were lower than the record tonnage recorded in December and January but still outpaced last February’s results in both volume and value. For the year, exports to Mexico were up dramatically compared to the first two months of 2011 – increasing 20 percent in volume (113,424 mt) and 24 percent in value ($208 million).
Japan remains the value pacesetter for U.S. pork, as February exports were steady in volume with last year but still achieved an increase of 17 percent in value. Through February, 2012 exports to Japan were 8 percent higher than a year ago in volume (80,316 mt) and 22 percent higher in value ($342 million).