U.S. pork exports posted solid results in July, with volumes trending higher than a year ago, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) this month. Pork export value increased significantly.
Pork exports reached 180,547 mt in July, up 8 percent from a year ago, while export value increased 11 percent to $491.9 million. For January through July, pork export volume increased 3 percent to 1.29 million mt, while value was $3.27 billion, still 2 percent below last year’s pace.
Exports accounted for 27.5 percent of total pork production in July and 23 percent for muscle cuts only, an impressive jump from a year ago when these ratios were 23.5 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
For the first seven months of the year, exports accounted for 25.5 percent of total pork production and 21.5 percent for muscle cuts, each up slightly from a year ago. Export value per head slaughtered was $56.14 in July, up 19 percent from a year ago. For January through July, per-head value averaged $49.37, down 2 percent.
China/Hong Kong continues to drive pork exports; chilled pork strong in Japan
July pork exports to China/Hong Kong were the smallest since February, but volume was still up 73 percent year-over-year to 47,701 mt, while value climbed 60 percent to $94 million. For January through July, exports to the region were up 79 percent in volume (332,601 mt) and 63 percent in value ($634.5 million).
“While it is encouraging to see the strong results in China/Hong Kong continue, the reality is that China’s domestic pork prices have fallen and import demand has slowed,” USMEF President/CEO Philip Seng explained. “That’s why it is so vitally important that we defend U.S. pork’s market share and further expand demand in markets around the world. The competitiveness of U.S. pork is also improving, and this should boost exports through the end of the year.”
Pork export volume to Mexico dipped in July (54,805 mt, down 6 percent), but value climbed 15 percent to $113 million. This was the highest monthly value total of 2016, with unit values up 22 percent, reflecting a notable improvement in ham prices. For January through July, exports to Mexico were down 8 percent year-over-year in volume (379,550 mt) and 5 percent in value ($679.1 million)
U.S. exports of chilled pork to Japan remain on a record pace at 126,394 mt, up 12 percent through July. So although Europe is dominating Japan’s frozen pork imports for further processing into ham and bacon, U.S. exports of high-quality chilled pork have fully rebounded from the West Coast port issues of 2015 and are reaching new heights.
Led by strong demand in Honduras and Guatemala, exports to Central America continue to shine in 2016. Through July, exports to the region increased 16 percent from a year ago in volume (36,536 mt) and climbed 8 percent in value ($85.7 million). Exports to the Dominican Republic also were strong in July, pushing January-July volume up 3 percent from a year ago to 15,008 mt, while value was down 3 percent to $32.1 million.
July also was a strong month for pork exports to Canada, pushing January-July totals ahead of last year’s pace in both volume (113,694 mt, up 2 percent) and value ($454.3 million, up 1 percent).
Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.