Pork Strong March results
The pork export value reached the second-highest level on record. The US is exporting a strong share of its pork production at higher prices.
March pork export volume was steady with last year at 227,363 t, while value increased 4% to $610.4 mill. – trailing only the November 2017 record of $615.8 mill. For the January-March quarter, volume increased 1% year-over-year to 636,297 t, while value was up 8% to $1.7 bn.
Exports accounted for 27.5% of total pork production in March, down from 28% a year ago, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased slightly to 23.5%. First-quarter exports followed a similar pattern, accounting for 26.6% of total production (down from 27% a year ago) and 23% for muscle cuts only (up from 22.6%).
March pork export value averaged $56.91 per head slaughtered, up 4% from a year ago, while the January-March average increased 5% to $54.81.
March pork exports to leading volume destination Mexico were below last year’s level in volume (66,136 t, down 4%) and value ($120.3 mill., down 5%). For the first quarter, exports were down just 1% from last year’s record pace in volume (203,656 t) and were steady in value at $371.3 mill.
Exports to Japan, the leading value market for US pork, followed similar trends as March exports slowed 10% in volume (33,969 t) and 11% in value ($138.6 mill.). But for January through March, exports to Japan were steady in volume at 101,435 t and increased 2% in value to $419.7 mill. This included a 5% decline in chilled pork to 53,688 t. Chilled pork value was down slightly at $258.6 mill.
Other first-quarter highlights for US pork include:
• South Korea’s demand for US pork is booming, as exports climbed 36% from a year ago in volume (69,518 t) and 47% in value ($202 mill.). USMEF is helping to position US pork in all sectors, but Korea’s rising pork consumption is especially evident in sales of home meal replacement items and convenience foods.
• With China’s rising domestic hog production and falling prices cooling demand for imported pork, export volume to China/Hong Kong slowed 15% from a year ago to 111,681 t. However, first-quarter export value still increased 1% to $260.7 mill. China’s additional 25% tariff on imports of US pork, imposed in retaliation for US tariffs on steel and aluminum, took effect 2 April and therefore any trade impact is not reflected in the first-quarter results.
• Strong growth in Colombia pushed exports to South America 22% higher than a year ago in volume (29,126 t) and 24% higher in value ($70.8 mill.). Exports to Chile dipped slightly in volume but were still higher in value year-over year. Argentina officially opened to US pork in April, but shipments have not yet begun as exporters work through regulatory requirements.
• Volumes increased to traditionally reliable markets Honduras and Guatemala, as exports to Central America were up 16% from a year ago in volume (18,605 t) and 22% in value ($45 mill.). The region got an even stronger boost from smaller markets, as exports jumped sharply to Panama, El Salvador and Nicaragua.
• Coming off a record year, demand for US pork in the Dominican Republic continues to gain momentum, with exports increasing 23% in volume (9,578 t) and 25% in value ($21.5 mill.). This pushed first-quarter exports to the Caribbean up 13% (13,439 t) and 16% ($32.5 mill.), respectively.
• Steady growth in the Philippines and sharply higher results in Vietnam and Singapore moved pork exports to the ASEAN region 21% higher in volume (10,634 t) and 32% higher in value ($29.5 mill.).
• Exports to Taiwan, which rebounded last year following a down year in 2016, continued to regain momentum in the first quarter. Exports increased 40% year-over-year in volume (3,603 t) and 45% in value ($9.1 mill.).