Beef Exports Strong, Pork Exports Slip

October 25, 2013

4 Min Read
Beef Exports Strong, Pork Exports Slip

U.S. beef exports report strong growth while U.S. pork exports are down nearly 5% in volume and value compared to a year earlier, according to USDA statistics released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

A strong performance by the top three international markets kept U.S. beef exports on an upward path in August while sales to China and several up-and-coming markets helped pork exports stay nearly even with last year’s record-setting pace.

Beef sales to Japan, Mexico and Canada all posted solid gains in August along with a resurgent Taiwan market as overall U.S. beef exports grew 5% in volume and 16% in value compared to year-ago levels, reaching 105,544 metric tons valued at $563.3 million. For the first eight months of 2012, beef exports are up 1% in volume and 10% in value to 767,017 metric tons valued at $4.01 billion.

Pork exports were bolstered by the largest sales to the China/Hong Kong region since February, as well as strong performances by the Central/South America and ASEAN regions. Total exports for August were down a fraction in volume (174,281 metric tons) but up 1% in value ($501.1 million). But for 2013 totals were down 4.6% in volume (1,405,078 metric tons) and 4.5% in value ($3.94 billion).


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The continued absence of the Russian market – closed to U.S. beef and pork products since February – continues to hinder exports. Excluding Russia, U.S. pork exports to all other markets are only down 1% this year, while beef exports are up 8% in volume and 16% in value.

“Challenges appear in many forms, including market closures and disruptions, international competition and product oversupply,” says Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “For example, while the United States has enjoyed impressive growth in beef exports to Hong Kong, we remain locked out of the fastest-growing beef market in the world – China. And pressure from our international competitors is a significant factor in other markets, as we see in Japan, the top value export market for pork in the world.”

Per-Head Export Values Remain Strong
Both pork and beef exports produced solid per-head values in August. The export value per head of fed slaughter for beef in August averaged $253.87, up $46.16 from last year. For pork, per-head totals were $52.43, up from $49.84 last year. Pork exports accounted for 21% of muscle cut production and 25% of total production (including variety meat) in August, similar to last year. Beef exports accounted for 11% of muscle cuts and 13.6% of total production, up roughly 1 percentage point for each.

Top Pork Markets
Mexico and Japan remain the top two markets for U.S. pork exports in 2013. Coming off double-digit increases in each of the past four months, exports to Mexico, the top volume market, slowed slightly in August, but volume remains up 1% for the year at 396,605 metric tons and value is up 3% to $747.5 million.

Top value market Japan dipped 14% in volume and 10% in value in August. Totals for 2013 stand at 284,970 metric tons valued at $1.26 billion, down 7% and 6%, respectively.

A rebound in exports to China/Hong Kong in August (up 28.7% in volume to 39,202 metric tons valued at $83.2 million, a 37.5% increase) helped bring year-to-date totals to 278,253 metric tons (down 2%) valued at $592.1 million (up 4%).

Other top-performing pork markets in August include:

  • Central/South America: up 26% in volume (9,011 metric tons) and 27% in value ($22.2 million) – exports to Chile jumped 276 percent in volume (1,820 metric tons) and 197 percent in value ($4.3 million) while exports to the largest market in the region, Colombia, were up 30 percent in volume and value (2,531 metric tons and $6.5 million)

  • ASEAN region: up 38 percent in volume (5,734 metric tons) and 55 percent in value ($14.3 million) – paced by Singapore’s 175 percent increase in volume (1,958 metric tons) and 263 percent jump in value ($5.4 million) and growth to the largest market in the region: the Philippines up 18 percent in volume (3,744 metric tons) and value up 30 percent ($8.8 million).


Complete exports results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available online.

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