U.S. pork exports ended the first half of 2016 on a positive note as June pork export values were the highest of the year. June also marked the second consecutive month of solid year-over-year volume growth, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation this week.
June pork exports were up 8 percent from a year ago, while export value increased 11 percent to $505.4 million. For the first half of the year, pork export volume is up 2 percent to 1.1 million mt, but value is down 4 percent to $2.77 billion.
Exports accounted for 26 percent of total pork production in June and 22 percent for muscle cuts only – each up one percentage point from a year ago. For January through June, these ratios were 25 percent and 21 percent, respectively, up slightly from last year. Export value per head slaughtered was $52.83 in June – up 10 percent from a year ago. First-half per-head value was $48.34, down 5 percent.
Pork exports strong to China/Hong Kong, Canada, Central America
June pork exports to China/Hong Kong remained well ahead of last year’s pace, increasing 84 percent in volume (50,374 mt) and 73 percent in value ($98.8 million). But June volume was the lowest since February, reflecting some cooling of the market. Exports to China/Hong Kong finished the first half 80 percent higher than a year ago in volume (284,900 mt) and 63 percent higher in value ($540.5 million).
“New opportunities for U.S. pork were developed in China/Hong Kong over the past year, and the inroads we made with importers and other key buyers in the region will pay long-term dividends,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “But it is important to recognize the shift in market conditions in China, which means growth in other key markets is essential to achieving a successful second half in 2016.”
Leading pork value market Japan showed renewed momentum in June, with exports up 1 percent from a year ago in volume (32,879 mt) and 6 percent higher in value ($138.1 million). First-half exports to Japan were still down 13 percent in volume (192,862 mt) and 10 percent in value ($749.6 million) as record volumes of chilled U.S. pork entering Japan were offset by lower imports of frozen product.
After a strong May performance, pork exports to Mexico took a step back in June, falling 13 percent from a year ago in volume (54,335 mt) and 5 percent in value ($105.4 million). First-half export volume to Mexico was 324,745 mt, down 8 percent from a year ago, while value fell 9 percent to $566 million. A spike in ham prices, compounded by the weak peso, significantly impacted June export results. But with ham prices moderating by mid-July, USMEF anticipates a rebound in demand.
June results were better north of the border, as pork exports to Canada totaled 16,731 mt – up 11 percent from a year ago and the largest of 2016 – while export value increased 13 percent to $69.5 million. This pushed first-half exports to Canada slightly ahead of last year’s pace at 96,582 mt, while value was steady at $381.6 million.
Led by mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala, U.S. pork posted a very strong first half in Central America as exports climbed 16 percent from a year ago in volume (31,274 mt) and 7 percent in value ($72.5 million).
June also was a very strong month for U.S. pork in the Philippines, a highly competitive market that purchases large volumes of raw material for further processing. June exports to the Philippines increased 54 percent from a year ago in volume (3,454 mt) and more than doubled in value ($10.3 million, up 126 percent). First-half exports totaled 15,995 mt (up 6 percent) valued at $37 million (up 23 percent).
Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.