U.S. beef and pork exports continued their rise in July, with beef sales hitting their highest level of the year, according to analysis of USDA statistics by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Asia Drives Beef Export Growth
Double-digit increases to the top three markets of Japan, Mexico and Canada helped beef exports to surge 9% in volume in July to 118,913 MT valued at $622.8 million -- a 21% increase relative to year-ago. For the first seven months of the year, beef exports are up fractionally in terms of volume and 9% in terms of value.
USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng notes that "Expanded access in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan has helped each of these key markets move closer to their full potential, and we are focusing our resources there to maximize opportunities to serve the growing demand in the region."
This resulted in the following gains for the first seven months of 2013:
- Japan: Up 57% in volume and 43% in value (142,875 metric tons valued at $855.8 million).
- Hong Kong: Up 102% in volume and 128% in value (60,159 metric tons valued at $368.4 million).
- Taiwan: Up 158% in volume and 222% in value (17,434 metric tons valued at $139.6 million)
USMEF also points out strong beef export performance in:
- Mexico: Rebounding from a slow start earlier in the year (down 9% in volume and value for the year to 110,689 metric tons valued at $470.9 million), July exports rose 16% in volume and 26% in value (21,309 metric tons valued at $91 million).
- Central/South America: Up 103% in volume (6,636 metric tons) and 41% in value ($17.1 million) in July; up 27% in volume and 16% in value for the year (25,963 metric tons valued at $88 million).
Pork Exports Grow Despite Challenges in Japan
A rebound in the Mexican market, strong variety meat demand in the China/Hong Kong region and rapid growth in both Central/South America and the ASEAN region have lifted pork exports by 8.5% in volume in July to 178,794 MT valued at $502.6 million -- up 7.5% from 2012, according the USMEF. Through the first seven months of the year, pork exports are down 5% in volume and value at 1.23 MMT and $3.44 billion, respectively, compared to last year's record-setting pace.
If one excludes Russia from this data (the country has been closed to U.S. beef and pork exports since February), pork exports were down just 1%.
Seng also ackowledges some challenges in Japan: "On the other hand, Japan is the highest-value pork market in the world, and we are facing intensified competition. We are one of 25 countries exporting pork to Japan, and while our promotion support there is down, our competitors are very aggressively working to take our market share."
So far this year, Japan's pork imports from all sources are down 3%, but the country's imports from the U.S. are down 7%. On the other hand, exports from the U.S.'s four leading competitors there are double-digit higher.
USMEF cites the following as top-performing pork export markets:
- Mexico: Up 21% in volume (55,567 metric tons) and 29% in value ($114.3 million) in July, and up 2% in volume (346,368 metric tons) and 3% in value ($645 million) over the record pace of 2012.
- Central/South America: Up 49% in volume (9,437 metric tons) and 48% in value ($23 million) in July, and up 36% in volume (62,774 metric tons) and 34% in value ($156.3 million) for the year.
- ASEAN: Up 60% in volume (6,407 metric tons) and 53.8% in value ($14.4 million) in July, and up 44% in volume (38,079 metric tons) and 36% in value ($91.6 million) for the year/
Get more details about meat exports so far this year here.