According to USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), beef and pork exports in February were strong despite growing concerns about tight supplies and rising prices. Year-to-date beef exports are up 6% in terms of volume and 14% in terms of value, with year-to-date pork exports up 2% in terms of volume and value.
Pork exports in February totaled 182,412 MT, valued at $506.4 million, both rising 2% from year-ago levels. February pork exports equated to 27.5% of total pork production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 23% of muscle cut production alone. Export value averaged $58.42 per head slaughtered, up 2% from a year-ago and the highest monthly average since March 2012, says USMEF. Strong demand in Mexico continues to be an important driver of U.S. pork exports, as February shipments far exceeded last year's totals and even topped the very strong results posted in February 2012. "Just as the PED virus has had an impact on domestic pork production in Mexico, it has likely been a factor in pork imports trending higher to South Korea," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.
Beef exports in February were down sligthly from year-ago at 85,876 MT, but value was up 12% at $480.3 million. February beef exports equated to 14% of total beef production and 11% of muscle cut production alone. Export value averaged $277.40 per head of fed slaughter, up 16% from a year ago and just short of the record total achieved in December 2013 ($279.16). Japan was sharply higher than a year-ago in both volume, as exports to the country under the expanded 30-month age restriction did not gain momentum until March 2013, notes USMEF.