According to USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), U.S. pork exports in September were steady with last year’s volume, while beef exports were well below a year ago. Despite sluggish volumes, however, the value of both pork and beef exports through the third quarter of 2012 remains ahead of last year’s record-setting pace.
September pork exports reached 183,853 MT, slightly exceeding last year’s total. Though export value declined 6% compared to last year to $505 million, it was about 2% higher than the August value of $495.5 million. For January through September, pork exports were up 2% in volume at 1.657 MMT and up 6% in value to $4.6 billion. Export value equated to $56.16 per head slaughtered, 4.5% above the per-head average established during the same period last year.
With fewer production days this year, September beef production declined 9% and exports fell 17% in volume to 90,538 MT. September export value dropped 4% to $442.8 million, but was significantly higher on a per-head-of-fed-slaughter basis – increasing 7% to $227.65. Despite January-September beef export volume being down 12% to 850,439 MT, export value totaled $4.1 billion. This was 2% above last year’s record pace and already exceeded the 2010 full calendar year total of $4.08 billion. Export value averaged $213.63 per head of fed slaughter, up about 6% compared to the same period in 2011.
"We are definitely in a challenging economic environment, which is making it difficult to match last year’s export volumes," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. "But our products continue to command an excellent price in the international markets and provide substantial returns to U.S. producers, which is critically important at a time when they face extremely high production costs."