Data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation show that U.S. pork exports remained ahead of last year’s record volume pace in October.
Pork exports for the month were the largest since May, totaling 211,592 metric tons (mt), up 5 percent from a year ago, valued at $565.4 million, up 8 percent. Through the first 10 months of the year, pork exports have increased 8 percent in volume (2.005 million mt) and 10 percent in value ($5.28 billion) from the same period last year.
Exports accounted for 25.4 percent of total pork production in October (steady with last year) and 21.6 percent for muscle cuts only (up slightly from a year ago). For January through October, these ratios increased about one percentage point from a year ago to 26.4 percent of total production and 22 percent for muscle cuts. October export value averaged $51.41 per head slaughtered, up 9 percent from a year ago and the highest since July. Through the first 10 months of the year, per-head export value was $52.64, up 7 percent.
Pork exports rebound to Mexico, Japan; record month for South America
Following a modest slowdown in September, pork exports to leading volume market Mexico regained momentum at 69,529 mt, up 7 percent from a year ago, valued at $129.8 million (up 13%). Through October, exports to Mexico are well-positioned for a sixth consecutive annual volume record at 655,527 mt (up 14%) valued at $1.24 billion (up 17%).
Mexico is an especially important destination for U.S. ham and consumption growth in Mexico has been critically supportive of ham prices in this time of record U.S. pork production, explained USMEF President/CEO Dan Halstrom.
“Although ham prices are currently below last year’s level, they have been up an average of 2 percent in 2017 and predictions of ham prices plummeting have not come true,” he said. “Strong demand in Mexico is absolutely a key reason for this,” Halstrom said. “USMEF has focused on expanding per-capita pork consumption in Mexico, which is up by about one-third in the past 10 years. This has helped make Mexico an even more critical and more reliable trading partner for the U.S. pork industry.”
Exports to leading value market Japan also trended upward in October, increasing 5 percent from a year ago in both volume (32,475 mt) and value ($134.5 million). January-October exports to Japan were 322,422 mt (up 1%) valued at $1.33 billion (up 3%). This included 176,609 mt of chilled pork valued at $834 million, down 2 percent in volume but 2 percent higher in value than a year ago.
Led by Colombia and Chile, October pork exports to South America reached a record 12,624 mt (up 31% from a year ago), valued at $32.3 million (up 29%). Through October, exports to South America were 78 percent ahead of last year’s pace in both volume (85,175 mt) and value ($218.8 million), already surpassing the previous records set in 2014. Export volumes to Colombia and Chile also have exceeded previous highs reached in 2014 and 2013, respectively.
- Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
- One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.