US meat exports set new records

by Editor fleischwirtschaft.com
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

October was another excellent month for U.S. pork and beef exports, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Pork exports set a new all-time monthly value record at US$573.9 mill. (up 41% from last year), which pushed the cumulative value through October to a new annual record of US$4.93 bill. - breaking the previous high of US$4.88 bill. in 2008 - with two months to spare.

Beef export value for October was US$452 mill., pushing the 2011 total to a new annual record of US$4.49 bill. This is 37% ahead of the then-record pace established in the first 10 months of 2010.

In addition to setting a new value record, pork export volume for October was also very strong at 200,725 t - 24% higher than last year and the second-largest volume total ever. Through October 2011 export volume is 17% ahead of last year's pace at 1.8 mill. t.

October exports equated to 24% of pork muscle cut production and 27% when including both muscle cuts and variety meat. For January through October, these ratios were 23% and 27%, respectively, compared to 19% and 24% last year. October exports equated to US$58.42 per hog slaughtered, bringing the 2011 total to US$54.68. This compares to US$42.26 in October 2010 and US$43.72 for all of last year.

China was the largest volume market for U. pork in October at 48,678 t, more than double the year-ago volume and setting another monthly record. Through October, exports to the China/Hong Kong region were up 60% to 361,690 t, valued at US$654.4 mill. (up 82%).

Strong October exports to Japan further solidified its position as the leading value market for US pork. Through October, export volume to Japan reached 410,057 t (up 14% over last year) valued at a remarkable US$1.62 bill. This value total is 19% higher than last year's pace and rapidly approaching a new all-time value record (US$1.65 bill. set in 2010).

Mexico is the top volume destination for US pork, with October exports up slightly in volume over last year but 15% higher in value. This pushed the 2011 export totals to 429,926 t (down 2%) valued at US$830.6 mill. (up 4%). With a strong finish to the year, the all-time value record for Mexico (US$986 mill. set last year) could be within reach.

The volume and value records for Canada (in 2010 183,068 t valued at US$618 mill.) are also likely to fall as strong October exports pushed its total to 168,828 t valued US$604.8 mill. - up 13% and 18%, respectively, from last year.

Exports to South Korea, which had already broken their previous records, remained strong in October reaching 161,118 t (up 133%) valued at US$418.1 mill. (up 182%). Exports to Korea have been bolstered this year by duty-free access for some imported pork cuts and a severe shortage of domestic product. Once the Korea-US FTA is implemented, duties of 25% on the most commonly traded US cuts will be reduced to 16%.

Another market topping its previous volume and value records was Australia, as 2011 exports reached 53,850 t valued at US$173 mill. - up 18% and 37%, respectively, over last year's then-record pace.

Led by surging exports to Chile, the Central and South America region also topped last year's record totals by reaching 58,050 tons (up 23%) valued at nearly US$150 mill. (up 33%). The outlook for this region was also bolstered by ratification of the free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama, which hold great promise for US pork.

October beef export volume was 105,912 t. This was 10% higher than October 2010 and pushed the 2011 volume total (1.073 mill. t) 24% ahead of last year's pace.

October beef exports equated to 11% of beef muscle cut production and 13.9% of total production when including variety meat, which was consistent with the year-to-date ratio. This compares to 9% of beef muscle cut production and 11.7% of beef plus beef variety meat production exported last year.

Exports equated to nearly US$210 per head of fed slaughter in October, pushing the 2011 total to US$202.82 per head. This is nearly US$50 per head higher than last year's average of US$153.09.

Despite being down slightly in October, Mexico remains this year's leading volume destination for US beef at 213,004 t (up 6% over the first 10 months of 2010). Mexico was the export value leader in October at US$85.3 mill., pushing the 2011 total 25% higher than last year at US$818.2 mill.

Canada held its position as the top value market for US beef in the first 10 months of 2011 at US$861.9 mill. (a new annual record), up 46% over the 2010 pace. Volume for the year is up nearly 30% to 159,396 t, also a new record. October results were impressive, with a volume of 14,175 t valued at just under US$74 mill.

Japan is the third-largest individual market in terms of both volume (133,870 t) and value (US$726.9 mill.). These totals exceed last year's pace by 30% and 38%, respectively. October export volume was down slightly from last year at 12,631 t, but value was 13% higher at US$73.7 mill.

Beef exports to South Korea maintained a very strong pace, pushing the 2011 volume to 129,810 t (up 43% from last year) valued at nearly US$575 mill. up (36%).

Strong exports to Egypt helped push the Middle East to an impressive 2011 volume of 145,457 t, valued at US$287.7 mill. - increases of 39% and 44%, respectively, over last year's pace and setting new annuals records for both volume and value.

Exports to Russia set a new value record at US$222.3 mill., which exceeds last year's pace by 66%. Strong export performance in Russia has allowed the United States to already fill its 2011 tariff rate quota for beef muscle cuts of 42,700 t.

Exports to the Central and South America region have also set new annual volume and value records of 21,418 t valued at US$66.3 mill., led by strong growth to Chile, Peru and Guatemala.

US lamb exports were also very solid in October, with volume (1,487 t) more than doubling last year's total and value up 77% to US$2.3 mill. Export volume through the first 10 months of the year was a record 15,788 t. Export value of US$25.8 mill. has not yet topped the 2006 record total (US$27.8 mill.), but is on pace to do so by year's end.

For the year, export volume is 79% higher than in 2010 while export value is up 48%. Strong performance in Mexico, Canada, the Middle East and the southeastern Caribbean islands accounted for much of this growth.
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