While economic caution flags are flying as we enter the final quarter of 2008, both U.S. beef and pork export levels continued to exceed expectations through the first nine months of the year, according to Erin Daley, USMEF Economist.
U.S. pork exports built on the record set in August, skyrocketing 61% in September over totals from a year ago. U.S. pork and variety meat exports for the month totaled 163,055 metric tons (just shy of 360 million pounds) valued at $425.5 million. Year-to-date, pork exports are up 70% in volume versus 2007 to 1.5 million metric tons (3.4 billion pounds) valued at $3.6 billion – a 64% increase.
Beef plus variety meat exports also maintained their strength through September with monthly exports up 47% to 98,640 metric tons (217.5 million pounds) valued at $396 million. For the first nine months of 2008, beef export volume increased 33% to 750,916 metric tons (1.65 billion pounds) valued at nearly $2.8 billion, a 45% jump.
The January through September beef export totals for 2008 stand at 95% of 2003 levels for value and 77% of 2003 volume totals. However, September 2008 exports exceeded those of September 2003 by 18% in value.
Currency fluctuations and credit issues are affecting the flow of world meat trade, and we will see exports impacted in the final quarter of the year. However, as markets stabilize, demand for U.S. pork and beef should remain strong.
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