August pork exports increased from the previous month, but were down slightly year-over-year, according to statistics recently released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Pork exports totaled 183,658 mt in August, down 2 percent year-over-year, valued at $511.4 million, down 0.3 percent. Jan.-Aug. volume remained 9 percent above last year’s record pace at 1.61 million mt, while export value increased 11 percent to $4.21 billion.
Exports accounted for 23.1 percent of total pork production in August (down from 24.1% a year ago) and 19.2 percent for muscle cuts only (down from 20%). For the first eight months of the year, the percentage of total production exported was 26.9 percent (up from 25.4% last year). For pork muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 22.4 percent (up from 21.3%). Export value per head slaughtered trended lower in August at $47.98, down 3 percent from a year ago, but the Jan.-Aug. average was still up 8 percent to $53.28.
This is shaping up to be a very solid year for red-meat exports, said USMEF CEO Philip Seng, but one in which the U.S. industry still faces significant challenges. The new pork plants coming on line sends a positive signal to international customers about product availability, but the international markets are increasingly competitive and we must continue to aggressively pursue new opportunities in both our traditional mainstay destinations and in emerging markets.
Steady pork exports to Mexico in August; China/Hong Kong rebounds
Pork exports to Mexico remained on pace for a sixth consecutive volume record in August, with volume up slightly from a year ago to 65,037 mt. Export value also increased slightly to $129.6 million. Through August, exports increased 18 percent in volume (522,227 mt) and 22 percent in value ($984.1 million).
Exports to Japan, the leading value market for U.S. pork, declined in August as volume dipped 9 percent to 31,863 mt and value was down 7 percent to $140 million. Through August, exports to Japan remained modestly higher year-over-year in both volume (260,352 mt, up 1%) and value ($1.07 billion, up 4%). August chilled pork exports to Japan were the largest since March, though Jan.-Aug. volume (142,927 mt) was still down 3 percent from last year’s record pace. Chilled export value through August was $674.2 million, up 3 percent from a year ago. The U.S. competes primarily with Canadian pork in Japan’s high-value chilled pork market.
Other January-August highlights for U.S. pork exports included:
- While August exports slowed year-over-year, U.S. pork continues to capitalize on strong red meat consumption growth in South Korea. Jan.-Aug. pork exports to Korea climbed 27 percent in volume (111,271 mt) and 32 percent in value ($305 million).
- In the China/Hong Kong region, August export volume was lower than a year ago, but rebounded compared to the previous month. August exports were 34,616 mt (down 8% year-over-year, but up 8% from July). Export value was $78.3 million, up 1 percent year-over-year and 14 percent above July. Jan.-Aug. exports to the region were 8 percent below last year’s pace in volume (341,080 mt), but down only 1 percent in value ($705.5 million).
- Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
- One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.