U.S. pork exports posted the strongest February volume on record, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) yesterday.
Pork exports reached 197,025 metric tons (mt) in February, up 15 percent year-over-year, with value up 17 percent to $486.7 million. For the first two months of 2017, exports totaled 399,692 mt, up 18 percent, with value increasing 22 percent to $995.3 million.
February exports accounted for 27.6 percent of total pork production and 22.9 percent for muscle cuts only, up from 23.8 percent and 20 percent, respectively, last year. Jan.-Feb. ratios also were significantly higher at 26.8 percent and 22.2 percent, compared to 23 percent and 19.3 percent in the first two months of 2016. Export value per hog slaughtered averaged $51.94 in February, up 18 percent year-over-year, while the Jan.-Feb. average was up 20 percent to $51.05.
Mexico was once again the pacesetter for February pork exports, with volume up 22 percent to 64,990 mt and value increasing 28 percent to $116 million. This pushed Mexico’s two-month totals to 137,396 mt (up 27%) and $244.7 million (up 39%). Mexico’s strong demand is reflected not only in increased buying from the U.S., but also in relatively high domestic hog prices, as per capita consumption of pork continues to grow. Strong demand from Mexico have helped move prices for U.S. heavy bone-in hams higher in 2017, up an average of 4 percent year-over-year.
For Japan, the leading value market for U.S. pork, February exports increased 14 percent to 32,178 mt, valued at $130.4 million (up 18%). For Jan.-Feb., exports to Japan were up 10 percent in volume (63,755 mt) and 14 percent in value ($256.1 million). Chilled pork exports to Japan increased 7 percent through February to 34,682 metric tons.
China/Hong Kong continued to take large volumes of U.S. pork variety meats in February, offsetting the slowdown in pork muscle cuts and putting the combined February total at 42,881 mt (up 5% year-over-year), valued at $83.2 million (up 12%). Two-month totals were up 10 percent in volume (80,893 mt) and 15 percent in value ($159.3 million).
Pork exports to South Korea, which were slow in the first half of 2016 before gaining momentum later in the year, totaled 14,649 mt (up 26%) in February, valued at $38.2 million (up 29%). Through February, volume increased 29 percent to 30,722 mt, while value improved 39 percent to $83.3 million.
- Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
- One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.