According to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), beef and pork exports were up in terms of volume and value to start 2014 compared to year-ago levels. But USMEF acknowledges there will be challenges this year due historically high prices and access to some markets.
USMEF President and CEO, Philip Seng says higher U.S. pork and beef prices will create challenges for American red meat exports in the months ahead, particularly in markets where customers are more price sensitive. He also says the projected 5% drop in beef production this year will make it challenging to maintain export levels. "In pork, there are a number of recognized challenges on the production side as well as unresolved access issues. In addition, we are also seeing increased competition in the form of higher marketing budgets and favorable prices for the EU, Brazil and Canada."
In January, beef exports of 97,824 MT were up 13% in terms of volume and 16% in terms of value compared to year-ago, bolstered by double-digit growth in Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong. Pork exports of 191,561 MT were up 3% in terms of volume and 2% in terms of value compared to year-ago, driven by growth in Mexico.
Top-performing beef export markets in January were:
- Mexico: 20,228 MT (up 23%) valued at $93.6 million (up 27%)
- Japan: 15,655 MT (up 53%) valued at $92.9 million (up 28%)
- Hong Kong: 12,811 MT (up 83%) valued at $80.9 million (up 118%)
- Central/South America: 2,843 MT (up 26%) valued at $12.4 million (up 32%)
- Chile: 975 MT (up 25%) valued at $4.7 million (up 26%)
- Colombia: 369 MT (up 258%) valued at $1.3 million (up 243%)
- Indonesia: 1,741 MT (up 3,314 percent) valued at $4.6 million (up 879 percent)
Top-performing pork export markets in January were:
- Mexico: 59,825 MT (up 9%) valued at $113.2 million (up 10%)
- Japan: 39,069 MT (up 4%) valued at $163.4 million (down 6%)
- Hong Kong/China: 34,766 MT (even) valued at $82.7 million (up 15%)
- Central/South America: 11,284 MT (up 74%) valued at $29.1 million (up 79%)
- Colombia: 4,732 MT (up 258%) valued at $12.4 million (up 270%)
- Oceania: 7,429 MT (up 16%) valued at $24.6 million (up 25%)
- New Zealand: 1,085 MT (up 63%) valued at $3.3 million (up 62%)
- Caribbean: 3,138 MT (up 22%) valued at $7.3 million (up 14%)