U.S. red meat exports continued at a blistering pace in the first quarter of 2008 with pork leading the way. Pork exports showed an increase of 41 percent over the same period last year according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Beef exports gained 29 percent for the period.

“We’re seeing continued strong performance in both sectors,” said Erin Daley, USMEF manager of research and analysis. “The weak U.S. dollar is certainly a factor, and gains are being made despite the growing shortage of shipping containers to take our exports to overseas markets. 

Pork exports for the first quarter totaled 366,411 metric tons. Pork variety meat exports, up 54 percent, totaled 87,631 metric tons. Pork exports for March were second only to the monthly record set in February, 2008.

Japan resumed its position as the No. 1 volume and value market for U.S. pork. China and Hong Kong was the No. 2 market. According to Chinese import statistics, the United States was the largest supplier during the first quarter. Mexico was the No. 3 importer of U.S. pork with Russia No. 4.

Source: USMEF