Pork exports close 2012 in record fashion

Pork exports close 2012 in record fashion

Posted Feb. 12, 2013

U.S. pork exports set new value and volume records in 2012, topping records set in 2011, according to end-of-year statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) yesterday.

The achievement was more significant in light of challenging export conditions that included non-science-based trade barriers in several key markets and an anemic economy in certain regions. The new records also were set despite a decrease in December exports.

Pork exports reached 2.26 million mt in volume – up a fraction from the record set in 2011 – and $6.3 billion in value, a 3.5 percent increase over the prior year’s record.

The per-head value of U.S. pork exports set another record in 2012, reaching $55.87, up 1 percent from 2011. For the year, exports accounted for 27 percent of total pork production and 23.4 percent of pork muscle cut production versus 27.5 percent and 23 percent, respectively, in 2011.

In addition to the new standards noted above, one-year export records were set in several key pork export markets:

• Mexico: 600,949 mt (12% increase) valued at $1.126 billion (8% increase)
• Canada: 235,604 mt (14% percent increase) valued at $855.7 million (16% increase)
• Central/South America: 90,897 mt (26% increase) valued at $227.9 million (22% increase)
• Australia/New Zealand: 76,801 mt (9% increase) valued at $236.1 million (5% increase)

The top five value pork export markets for 2012 were:

• Japan – $1.986 billion
• Mexico – $1.126 billion
• China/Hong Kong – $886.2 million
• Canada – $855.7 million
• South Korea – $421.1 million

Looking ahead, the outlook for 2013 appears positive for the U.S. pork industry. The pork projection calls for steady to slight growth, with exports likely to still exceed 2.2 million mt valued at more than $6 billion with key risk factors including Russia and domestic production in China. On the bullish side, U.S. pork is an extremely versatile, high quality protein at a great value that will gain market share in key export markets. Continued growth to top volume market Mexico also is expected to boost the bottom line.