October Pork Exports Lag Behind 2012 Pace

December 16, 2013

4 Min Read
October Pork Exports Lag Behind 2012 Pace

While beef exports continue their blistering pace in 2013, pork exports remain behind last year’s record-setting levels, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Top beef export markets Japan and Mexico both increased the volume of their U.S. beef purchases in excess of 40% percent for the month of October, while sales to the booming Hong Kong market skyrocketed 148%. Overall, October U.S. beef exports reached 107,471 metric tons valued at $564.5 million, increases of 6 and nearly 14%, respectively.

Pork exports in October were the largest of the year on a value basis at $539.9 million, and second-largest in volume at 186,637 metric tons, but still declined 11 and 14%, respectively, from last October’s all-time single-month highs for both volume and value. Both the ASEAN and the Central and South America region recorded double-digit increases, as they have all year, but other key markets trailed 2012’s historic highs.


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“The ebbs and flows of export markets require us to make continual adjustments,” says Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “For example, Japan remains the United States’ top value market for pork exports, but relentless competition from other international suppliers is making it tougher for us to maintain our market share."

Seng also notes while the U.S. Congress continues to debate budget cuts that could affect spending on programs like the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program that support U.S. agricultural exports, the European Commission has proposed more than tripling its spending to support European Union agricultural and agri-food sector products.

“There is no question that exports create jobs and support a positive balance of trade,” Seng says. “The European Commission sees that link and is looking to put significantly more resources into their export initiative, so we can expect to face even heavier competition in the top value markets going forward.”

Top Pork Markets

Mexico, the leading volume market for U.S. pork, dipped 2% in volume during October (55,152 metric tons) while the value increased 5.6% to $114.6 million. Through the first 10 months of the year, export volume to Mexico (501,979 metric tons) was steady with last year’s record pace, and export value ($964.4 million) was 4% higher.

October sales to the top value market, Japan, slipped nearly 8% in value ($173.5 million) on 15% lower volume (38,322 metric tons). For January through October, exports were down 9% in volume (356,032 metric tons) and 6% in value ($1.58 billion).

U.S. pork export value in October averaged $51.79 per head, down 7% from last year. Exports accounted for 20% of pork muscle cuts and nearly 24% of total pork production, compared to 23 and 27.4% last year.

Other key pork export results in October were:

  • China/Hong Kong region: 36,531 metric tons (down nearly 6%) valued at $80.9 million (down 4%)

  • Canada: 18,831 metric tons (down 7%) valued at $69.3 million (down 6%)

  • Central/South America: 13,040 metric tons (up more than 23%) valued at $33.9 million (up 30%) – led by a 65% increase in volume to Colombia (3,916 metric tons) and 66% jump in value ($10.7 million)

  • South Korea: 5,566 metric tons (down 60%) valued at $16 million (down 57%)

  • ASEAN: 6,912 metric tons (up more than 17%) valued at $15.2 million (up more than 15%)

One metric ton is equal to 1.1 U.S. short tons.

Complete export results are available on the USMEF statistics webpage.

Follow export market progress during 2013 in the following stories:

Pork to Japan Sales Expected to Exceed $2 billion

U.S. Pork Making Inroads in Chile, Columbia

South Korea’s Abundant Pork Supplies will Challenge U.S. Pork Sales

New Pork Export Weekly Reports Offer Timely Feedback

U.S. Pork Thrives in the ASEAN Region

Variety Meat: The Hidden Pork Value

Soybean-Funded Mexican Pork Campaign Delivering Results

Chinese “E-Tailing” Emerging as Exciting New Channel for U.S. Meat

Mexican Pork Imaging Campaign Delivering Results

Pork Leadership Team Tours Promising Panama Market

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