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July pork exports rise

Posted Sept. 9, 2013

Paced by strong performances from leading markets, U.S. pork exports continued their upward trend in July.

Statistics provided by USDA and compiled and released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) on Sept. 5 indicated strong performances by Mexico, the China/Hong Kong region and Central/South America boosted pork exports by 8.5 percent in volume in July to 178,794 metric tons valued at $502.6 million, a 7.5 increase over 2012.

Through July, pork exports were down 5 percent in volume and value at 1.23 million metric tons and $3.44 billion. Excluding Russia, which has been closed to U.S. pork since February, exports were down just 1 percent from last year’s record pace.

Pork exports in July were paced by the continued rebound of the Mexican market, strong variety meat demand in the China/Hong Kong region and rapid growth in both Central/South America (led by Colombia) and the ASEAN region (led by the Philippines). The 8.5 percent volume and 7.5 percent value increases in July were tempered by continued access issues in Russia and heavy competition in Japan.

“We are encouraged by the positive response to USMEF’s retail pork imaging campaign in Mexico, which is in direct correlation to sales growth there,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “On the other hand, Japan is the highest-value pork market in the world and we are facing intensified competition. We are one of 25 countries exporting pork to Japan, and while the U.S. industry has deemphasized the priority of our promotional programs in Japan, our competitors are very aggressively working to take our market share. As a result, our share of Japan’s pork import market is down 3 percent so far this year.”

Year-to-date, Japan’s total pork imports from all sources are down 3 percent to 548,608 metric tons, but imports from the U.S. are down 7 percent (245,938 metric tons). At the same time, exports from four leading competitors (Mexico, Chile, Spain and Poland) are up by double digits for the year.

Top-performing pork export markets include:
• Mexico: up 21 percent in volume (55,567 metric tons) and 29 percent in value ($114.3 million) in July, and up 2 percent in volume (346,368 metric tons) and 3 percent in value ($645 million) over the record pace of 2012
• Central/South America: up 49 percent in volume (9,437 metric tons) and 48 percent in value ($23 million) in July, and up 36 percent in volume (62,774 metric tons) and 34 percent in value ($156.3 million) for the year
• ASEAN: up 60 percent in volume (6,407 metric tons) and 53.8 percent in value ($14.4 million) in July, and up 44 percent in volume (38,079 metric tons) and 36 percent in value ($91.6 million) for the year

U.S. pork exports in July accounted for 22 percent of muscle cut and 27 percent of pork and variety meat production, similar to last year (23 and 26.5 percent respectively) with a per-head export value of $55.35, down from last year’s $56.04 total.

Editor’s notes:
• Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat unless otherwise noted
• One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds

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