Record pork export pace continues in June

Record pork export pace continues in June

Posted Aug. 16, 2012
U.S. pork exports concluded the first half of 2012 in solid fashion, with June pork exports 4 percent higher in value than last year on steady volume.

These results are based on statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation Aug. 10.

June pork exports totaled 165,065 metric tons valued at $468.3 million. This pushed the first half total to 1.13 million metric tons valued at $3.17 billion, which was 5 percent higher in volume and 13 percent higher in value than the record pace of 2011. June export value equated to $54.78 per head slaughtered, bumping per-head value for the year to $57.80 – more than 10 percent higher than in the first half of 2011. For the year, about 24 percent of U.S. muscle cut production has been exported and nearly 28 percent of total production (muscle cuts plus variety meat). Last year these ratios were 22.5 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

Markets driving first half export growth for U.S. pork included volume leader Mexico, which was up 13 percent in volume to 294,097 metric tons and 11 percent in value to $537.4 million. Value pacesetter Japan was up 7 percent in value ($1.01 billion) despite a 7 percent decline in volume (231,984 metric tons). June was a rather slow month for Japan, with export volume posting the lowest total (32,923 metric tons) since September 2010.

“The remainder of 2012 will be very challenging in Japan, but we continue to pursue new marketing opportunities,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “In Mexico, we are focused on growing overall pork consumption, as this will definitely pay long-term dividends for the U.S. industry.”

Russia provided a significant boost for June’s pork results, with export volume up 75 percent from a year ago to 11,094 metric tons. Export value topped $30 million – an increase of more than 50 percent over June 2011, bolstered by strong demand for higher-value products such as boneless hams and boneless loins. Through June, this year’s pork exports to Russia were up 42 percent in volume (50,226 metric tons) and 38 percent in value ($145 million).

“U.S. pork still faces obstacles in Russia, but we are gaining traction there,” Seng said. “This is the first year in which the United States is participating in Russia’s large (400,000 metric tons) global import quota, which expands our growth potential.

Other key growth markets for U.S. pork in the first half of 2012 included China/Hong Kong, up 28 percent in volume (221,876 metric tons) and 72 percent in value ($448.6 million), and Canada, up 14 percent in volume (110,876 metric tons) and 20 percent in value ($402.8 million).


Editor’s notes:
– Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat unless otherwise noted
– One metric ton = 2,204.622 pounds