According to data from USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), beef and pork exports in terms of value and volume were the best for the year in June. Pork exports of 169,098 MT were up 2.4% from May, valued at $469.7 million, which was up fractionally. Beef exports of 101,720 MT were up 8%, valued at $562.3 million, which was up 21%.
Also impressive, beef export value was a record $260.21 per head of fed slaughter, a $56.31 increase over June of 2012. For pork, the per-head export value was $57.27 in June versus $54.78 last year.
Top performing beef export markets in June (by volume) were Japan (up 66%), Hong Kong (up 156%), Mexico (up 14%), Taiwan (up 400%) and Central/South America (up 62 %; growth mainly to Peru and Chile). The absence of exports to Russia continues to be felt, as the 5,903 MT of beef exported there last June made it the No. 6 market for U.S. beef.
"There is no question that challenges persist, such as the continued closure of the Russian market, but we are seeing positive signs from key markets, including Japan and Mexico, that are vital trading partners for our industry," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. "We are focused on the markets where we can take advantage of opportunities, such as expanded access for U.S. beef in Japan, the rebound in Taiwan and continued growth of the Hong Kong and Central/South America markets. At the same time, we continue relationship-building in Russia for when that market reopens, and stand ready to capitalize on the growing demand for high-quality beef in China when access can be restored for the first time since 2003."
Pork exports to Mexico increased 20% in June, pushing the first-half total nearly even with last year’s record pace, says USMEF. Other top pork export growth markets in June (by volume) were Japan (up 4%), China/Hong Kong (up 15%), Central/South America (up 54%; mainly to Colombia, Honduras and Chile), the ASEAN (up 26%; mainly to the Philippines), Caribbean (up 36%; mainly to the Dominican Republic) and Taiwan (up 67%).
"The rebound in Mexico is particularly gratifying," said Seng. "An abundance of domestic pork in Mexico affected demand in the first quarter and the Russia closure had a negative impact on the prices paid for hams and other cuts sold to processors in Mexico. But we are focusing on this market with a pork imaging campaign that is getting positive reviews from importers and consumers alike."
For the year, U.S. beef exports are down 1% in volume at 542,560 MT but 6% higher in terms of value at $2.83 billion. Pork exports for the first half of 2013 are down 7% in volume and value to 1.05 MMT valued at $2.94 billion.