U.S. pork exports capped a very strong first half of the year in June. Statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation in August show that exports achieved higher values on a per-head-slaughtered basis and accounted for a steady-to-higher percentage of total production.
The June total for pork was 200,229 mt, up 6 percent year-over-year and the largest June volume on record, valued at $527.1 million, a 4 percent increase. This pushed the first-half total to 1.25 million mt, valued at $3.21 billion – up 13 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
Exports accounted for 27 percent of total pork production (up more than one percentage point from a year ago) in June and 22 percent for muscle cuts only (steady with last year). For the first half, with production at a record pace, both ratios increased significantly from a year ago. The percentage of total production jumped from 25.3 percent to 27.8 percent, and for muscle cuts the increase was from 21.4 percent to 23 percent. Export value per head slaughtered in June was up 1 percent to $53.41 and the first-half average increased 12 percent to $54.09.
Pork exports to leading volume market Mexico remained on a record pace in June, increasing 19 percent year-over-year in both volume (64,712 mt) and value ($124.9 million). This pushed the first-half total to 398,565 mt (up 23%) valued at $731.6 million (up 29%).
June exports to leading value destination Japan were below year ago levels, dipping by 8 percent in volume (30,401 mt) and 10 percent in value ($124.3 million). But first-half totals remained higher than a year ago at 200,175 mt (up 4 percent) valued at $810.6 million (up 8 percent). Chilled pork exports to Japan declined 2 percent to 107,032 mt, but value increased 5 percent to $501 million.
- Capitalizing on rapid growth in home meal replacement items and other foods that emphasize convenience, as well as duty-free status for most cuts under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, pork exports to South Korea climbed 31 percent from a year ago to 94,545 mt, valued at $258.5 million (up 38%). This year Korea’s imports have been driven by strong consumer demand, as Korea’s domestic pork production is slightly ahead of last year’s pace.
- While exports to China/Hong Kong fell below last year’s pace in volume (271,297 mt), value still increased 3 percent ($558.4 million). This reflected the strong price commanded for pork variety meat, as first-half variety meat exports to the region climbed 19 percent in volume (172,269 mt) and 28 percent in value ($367.2 million).
- Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
- One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.