Record pork export pace continues in November

Record pork export pace continues in November

Posted Jan. 16, 2012

U.S. pork exports set another monthly volume record in November, which helped offset record-high production and provide a significant boost to pork cutout values, according to statistics released Jan. 13 by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF),

Exports totaled 217,080 metric tons valued at $597.85 million – up 22.5 percent and 35 percent, respectively, over November 2010. This boosted the January-November volume total to 2.04 million metric tons (up 18 percent year-over-year) and the value total to $5.526 billion (up 27 percent). This puts U.S. pork export value, which had never reached $5 billion before this year, on pace to approach the $6 billion mark in 2011.

Pork export value soars to nearly $60/head
November pork exports equated to nearly 29 percent of total production (including variety meat). In terms of muscle cuts only, exports still totaled 24 percent of total production. Export value per head slaughtered set a new monthly record at $59.98, which was $15 higher than a year ago. For January through November, the percentage of total production exported equated to 27 percent, or 23 percent when including only muscle cuts. This compares to 23.7 percent and 19 percent for the same period in 2010. Export value for the year averaged $55.21 per head, compared to $43.72 per head a year ago.

U.S. pork continues to perform remarkably well in Japan, with November results up 6 percent in volume and 17 percent in value over a year ago. For January-November, exports to Japan totaled 451,509 metric tons, nearly matching the 2008 volume record of 451,853 metric tons. Export value reached $1.79 billion, easily setting a new record and setting the stage for a year-end value total that could threaten the $2 billion mark.

“USMEF has continued to market U.S. pork aggressively in Japan, because we know this it is a valuable and fiercely competitive market,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “When we first broke the $1 billion barrier in 2005, some speculated that this market may have peaked. They said so again in 2008, when exports hit $1.5 billion. To be approaching $2 billion is remarkable, and it shows just how vital Japan is to the bottom line of the U.S. industry.”

November exports also were bolstered by strong results in the China/Hong Kong region, which set another monthly record at 66,993 metric tons valued at $140.2 million. For the year, export volume to this region was up 68 percent to 428,683 metric tons and export value nearly doubled to $794.6 million.

Pork exports to South Korea continued to build on a record year, with November results up 62 percent in volume to 11,673 metric tons and more than double in value to $35.6 million. For the year, exports to Korea have soared by 126 percent in volume (172,791 metric tons) and 176 percent in value ($453.7 million).

Exports volume to Mexico was lower in November at 47,295 metric tons (down 12 percent) but value remained steady at $94.7 million. Despite volume for the year being down 3 percent to 477,221 metric tons, Mexico remains the leading volume destination for U.S. pork. Export value for the year ($925.3 million) was up 4 percent from 2010’s record pace, and by year’s end may break $1 billion for the first time.

November results pushed pork exports to Canada to new record totals in both volume (188,250 metric tons, up 14 percent) and value ($673.8 million, up 20 percent). Other markets that have topped their previous records in 2011 include Australia (58,631 metric tons valued at $187.8 million) and Central-South America (66,352 metric tons valued at $171.3 million).

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