According to USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), beef exports improved in August, while pork exports held steady. Beef exports were bolsters by a resurgence of shipments to Taiwan, while key pork markets like China maintained a strong year-over-year pace.
Overall U.S. beef exports were up 5% in terms of volume at 105,544 MT in August and rose 16% in terms of value of $563.3 million. For the first eight months of 2012, beef exports are up 1% in volume and 10% in value to 767,017 MT valued at $4.01 billion. Total pork exports for August were down a fraction in volume at 174,281 MT, but up 1% in terms of value to $501.1 million. Year-to-date pork exports are down 4.6% in terms of volume to 1,405,078 MT, valued by $3.98 billion, which is down 4.5% from year-ago.
USMEF says the continued absence of the Russian market - closed to U.S. beef and pork products since February - continues to hinder exports. Excluding Russia, U.S. pork exports to all other markets are only down 1% this year, while beef exports are up 8% in volume and 16% in value.
"Challenges appear in many forms, including market closures and disruptions, international competition and product oversupply," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. "For example, while the United States has enjoyed impressive growth in beef exports to Hong Kong, we remain locked out of the fastest-growing beef market in the world - China. And pressure from our international competitors is a significant factor in other markets, as we see in Japan, the top value export market for pork in the world."
Pork and beef exports produced solid per-head values in August, estimates USMEF. The export value per head of fed slaughter for beef in August averaged $253.87, up $46.16 from last year. For pork, per-head totals were $52.43, up from $49.84 last year.