According to USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), the value of beef and pork exports for the first eight months of the year remained slightly ahead of 2011’s record-setting pace, but exports slipped in August in terms of volume compared to year-ago levels.
U.S. beef exports in August were the second-largest of the year at 100,468 MT, but this was still 14% below the August 2011 volume. In value, August exports totaled $486.2 million. While 5% lower than a year ago, it was also the second-highest monthly total of 2012. Year-to-date beef exports through August are 11% lower than a year ago in volume (759,901 MT) but still 2% above last year’s record value pace at $3.66 billion.
U.S. pork exports in August were down 6% in volume (175,310 MT) and 7% in value ($495.5 million) compared to a year ago, but these totals were up 10% and 6%, respectively, from the previous month’s performance. Year-to-date pork exports through August are up 2% in volume (1.474 MMT) and 8% in value ($4.13 billion) from last year’s record levels.
"We face a challenging business climate in several key markets, with rising production costs and slowing economic growth creating some anxiety among buyers," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "We’re also seeing a surge in domestic meat supplies in some areas, particularly in South Korea. But the commitment to enhancing global demand for U.S. beef and pork remains very strong, as evidenced by the terrific support of our producer organizations. These are the circumstances in which effective global marketing takes on an even greater level of importance, as producers need to maximize the value of every cut and every carcass."