July values for U.S. pork, as well as beef, exports dipped slightly from June’s totals, but both exceeded year-ago levels.

Looking at beef, export posted nearly a 40 percent jump over 2009 levels. Based on USDA and U.S. Meat Export Federation statistics, beef export value surged to $366.3 million in July, pushing the cumulative January-July value to more than $2.19 billion-- 25 percent higher than last year's pace and about even with 2003’s pre-BSE peak value. In terms of volume, the 588,030 metric tons of beef exported through July is 15 percent higher than in 2009.
Pork export value in July was 4 percent higher than last year at $385.8 million, pushing the 2010 cumulative January-July total to $2.74 billion. This is 8 percent higher than in 2009 and just 1 percent off the all-time record pace established in 2008. July export volume was 4 percent lower than July 2009, but the cumulative volume (1.1 million metric tons) was still up 2 percent from last year.

Strong performance in the top three destinations for U.S. pork-- Japan, Mexico and Canada-- has helped offset slower results in Korea, Vietnam, China and Russia and has kept export results ahead of last year's pace. Mexico shattered its all-time record for purchases of U.S. pork in 2009, but has surpassed that pace in 2010 by 8 percent in volume (311,206 metric tons) and an impressive 31 percent in value ($560 million). The market has proven resilient, even as prices for ham and other popular cuts have risen significantly. It is important to note, however, that new 5 percent retaliatory tariffs on ham and shoulder cuts had not yet taken effect in July.
Japan, by far the largest value market for U.S. pork, got off to a slow start in 2010 but pulled even with last year's pace in terms of volume (259,947 metric tons) and was 3 percent higher in value ($968.9 million).
U.S. pork sales in Japan received a boost from a promotion USMEF developed with Ebara Foods, Japan's largest yakiniku seasoning manufacturer, which involved a U.S. pork back rib promotion supported by an estimated $3 million television ad campaign (paid for by Ebara) and in-store promotions at 1,300 retail outlets across Japan.
"We are certainly pleased with the rebound in demand for U.S. pork, but this is not the time for the U.S. industry to let its guard down in Japan," Seng said. "While Japan's total pork imports are up, the U.S. market share has actually slipped slightly compared to last year. We cannot afford to be complacent in Japan or rest on our past successes because this is the highest-value pork market that delivers tremendous returns for U.S. producers. Every pork-producing country in the world knows this and will leap at the opportunity to capture market share if the United States pulls back."  
Exports to Canada, the third-largest market for U.S. pork, reached 104,132 metric tons valued at $353.8 million - increases of 13 percent and 24 percent, respectively.
Other pork highlights include:

  • Despite a significant decline in Vietnam, exports to the ASEAN region are up nearly 40 percent in volume (43,629 metric tons) and 50 percent in value ($84.7 million). Extremely strong growth in the Philippines led the region into positive territory, along with a solid increase in exports to Singapore.
  • Exports to Hong Kong increased by 18 percent in volume (114,771 metric tons) and 6 percent in value ($163.7 million). This helped offset a decline in China caused mostly by lack of market access early in the year, putting the Hong Kong/China region effectively even with last year's results. July exports to China were well above year-ago levels, but the market was effectively closed in July 2009 due to H1N1 influenza.
  • U.S. pork continues to gain traction in Australia, where exports were up 18 percent in volume (35,653 metric tons) and 30 percent in value to $94.2 million.
  • Led by strong growth in Guatemala and Honduras, exports to Central and South America were up 35 percent in volume (32,480 metric tons) and 39 percent in value to $74.5 million.
  • U.S. pork has achieved steady growth in the Caribbean, gaining 11 percent in volume (26,933 metric tons) and 21 percent in value to $56.2 million. The Dominican Republic is the largest market in the region, but Trinidad and Tobago has achieved the strongest rate of growth in 2010. 

Joel Haggard, USMEF senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, says emerging markets for U.S. pork are an important component of continued export growth.
"We are very bullish on the Philippines, for example, where the economy is showing a lot of promise and the investment we have made in USMEF promotions is really beginning to pay big dividends," he said. "Australia has also been a very strong area of growth for U.S. pork. USMEF has established excellent relationships with the major meat processors in Australia, and we are moving an increasing amount of product into that sector."  
Read complete export results for January through July.

Source: USMEF