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Mexico helps keep pork exports strong in February

Posted April 16, 2014

Buoyed by double-digit export growth to Mexico – the largest volume market for all U.S. red meat exports – U.S. pork exports performed well in February, despite growing concerns about tight supplies and rising prices, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled last week by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

February pork exports totaled 182,412 mt, up 2 percent from a year ago, while export value also rose 2 percent to $506.4 million. Cumulative exports for the first two months of the year similarly were 2 percent ahead of last year’s pace in both volume (373,973 mt) and value ($1.04 billion).

“Mexico continues to be an invaluable trading partner for our industry,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

February pork exports equated to 27.5 percent of total pork production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 23 percent of muscle cut production alone. Export value averaged $58.42 per head slaughtered, up 2 percent from a year ago and the highest monthly average since March 2012.

Strong demand in Mexico continues to be an important driver of U.S. pork exports, as February shipments far exceeded last year’s totals and even topped the very strong results posted in February 2012.

“Just as the PED virus has had an impact on domestic pork production in Mexico, it has likely been a factor in pork imports trending higher to South Korea,” said Seng.

Top performing markets in February (with comparisons to a year ago) included:
• Mexico, up 25 percent in volume (53,852 mt) and 35 percent in value ($109.1 million).
• Exports to Japan, the leading value market for U.S. pork, were 7 percent higher in volume (35,692) but 5 percent lower in value ($139.8 million).
• Volume edged higher in Korea (12,643 mt, +3%) and export value climbed 10 percent to $36.6 million.
• Exports to Colombia, which has quickly emerged as the largest market for U.S. pork in the Central-South America region, nearly doubled in both volume (4,288 mt, +88%) and value ($11 million, +89%).
• Exports to Australia continued to rebound (5,987 mt, +11% with value $20.4 million up 17%).
Exports trended lower in February to China/Hong Kong on sharply lower demand for variety meat. Exports to Canada struggled in part due to the weakened Canadian dollar.

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