Strong red meat exports this winter

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U.S. red meat exports for November were solid with beef sales setting a new value record with one month remaining in the year and pork exports posting their strongest month of 2013, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Driven by sustained export growth to Japan and Hong Kong and the continued rebound of the Mexican market, U.S. beef exports surged 11 percent in volume and 16 percent in value compared to November 2012, putting 11-month totals at nearly 1.1 million metric tons (mt), up 3 percent from a year ago. Export value reached $5.61 billion, an 11 percent increase over last year’s pace and already ahead of the 2012 year-end total of $5.51 billion.

Pork exports also were bolstered by solid growth to Mexico and the Central/South America region, registering the highest totals for the year. Despite that, year-to-date U.S. pork exports continue to trail 2012’s record numbers by 6 percent in volume (1.95 million mt) valued at $5.5 billion, a 5 percent decline.

“Market access…product availability…relationships. There are many factors that play a role in the export marketplace,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “We continue to see benefits from expanded market access for beef in Japan and Hong Kong. At the same time, the lack of access for U.S. beef to Mainland China and the closure of the Russian market for both pork and beef – which is approaching a year in duration – are significant barriers.”

Seng noted that other impediments for U.S. pork exports to both China and Japan have had an impact. Drought has had widespread ramifications, leading to smaller cattle numbers in the U.S. and a contrasting surge in Australia’s 2013 production, also leading to record exports of Australian beef.

November pork exports

U.S. pork exports in November totaled 192,657 mt (down 4 percent) valued at $550.7 million (down nearly 3 percent). Exports equated to 26 percent of total pork production and 22 percent of muscle cuts versus 26.8 and 23 percent, respectively, last year.

The export value per head was $57.07 for pork in November, an increase of $1.09 versus last year.

The top-performing export markets for U.S. pork for the month were:

Mexico: 58,678 mt (up 16 percent) valued at $124.3 million (up nearly 26 percent)

Exports are on pace to set another annual record and Mexico remains the top volume market for U.S. pork, trailing only Japan in value

Central/South America: 15,876 mt (up 58 percent) valued at $42.2 million (up 77 percent) and exports already set a new annual record with strong growth to Colombia, Chile and Honduras

Hong Kong: 7,326 mt (up 35 percent) but not fully offsetting smaller volumes to China (27,978 mt, down 15 percent)

ASEAN: 5,831 mt (up 25 percent) valued at $12.4 million (up 10 percent)

Caribbean: 4,281 mt (up 18 percent) valued at $11.2 million (up 23 percent)

Japan, the No. 1 export market for U.S. pork, continued to trail 2012 levels, down 2 percent in volume and 7 percent in value for the month, with 11-month totals at 390,388 mt (down 8 percent) valued at $1.7 billion (down 6 percent). Based on Japanese import data, smaller volumes of frozen pork from the U.S. have not been fully offset by growth in chilled pork and ground seasoned pork. 

November beef exports

U.S. beef exports in November reached 101,341 mt, an 11 percent hike over last year, while the value rose 16 percent to $524.5 million. Exports accounted for 14.3 percent of total U.S. beef production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 11 percent of muscle cuts alone compared to 12 and 9 percent, respectively, in November of 2012.

The export value per head of fed slaughter in November jumped to $267.36, an increase of $51.41 over last year.

The top-performing beef export markets in November were:

Japan: 17,135 mt (up 74 percent) valued at $101.2 million (up 41 percent)

Japan is the top volume and value market for U.S. beef exports, totaling 219,081 mt (up 52 percent) valued at $1.3 billion (up 34 percent) for the year

Mexico: 20,114 mt (up more than 62 percent) valued at $82.9 million (up more than 50 percent)

Mexico is the No. 2 volume market for U.S. beef for the year, totaling 191,984 mt (up 8 percent) valued at $819.9 million (up 8 percent)

Hong Kong: 15,185 mt (up 112 percent) valued at $98.1 million (up 163 percent)

ASEAN: 3,080 mt (up 22 percent) valued at $14.1 million (up 20 percent), led by a recovery of exports to Indonesia


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