The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) says based on USDA data, U.S. pork exports in the first quarter were 8% higher in terms on volume and 20% higher in terms of value than last year's record pace, while beef exports rose 4% in value, but were 10% lower in volume.
In March, USMEF says pork export volume of 198,972 metric tons (MT) was 8% lower than a year ago, but up 6% from February 2012. Export value of $570.5 million was 3% higher than last year and up 8% from the previous month. These results were led by excellent growth in the China/Hong Kong region and by strong performance in Mexico, Japan and Canada.
Beef export volume in March of 89,803 MT was 23% lower than last year but up 3% from February. March export value of $438.5 million was down 8% year-over-year but was 7% higher than the previous month.
"A 20% increase in pork export value for the first quarter is extraordinary, especially considering the record performance of last year," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "On the beef side, market access issues and price sensitivity are making volume growth difficult in some markets, but we are pleased to see export value remaining above last year’s record pace, even on smaller volumes."
Juli says: In its May S&D Report, USDA said tight U.S. beef supplies and high prices will constrain beef exports in 2013, although it says exports will decline by just 25 million lbs. from 2012. But due to projected lower hog prices in 2013, USDA looks for pork exports to grow by 1.8% from this year.