USA, Denver, Co. US August pork exports were fairly steady with last year’s volume, but retaliatory duties in key markets continued to pressure pork export value, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
August pork export volume was down 1% from last year at 182,372 t, while export value fell 3% to $494.1 mill. Pork muscle cuts fared better in August, increasing 5% to 148,736 t, but value still declined 1% to $414.7 mill. Pork variety meat exports declined sharply in August in both volume (33,636 t, down 20%) and value ($79.4 mill., down 15%).
For January through August, combined pork and pork variety meat exports remained 1% ahead of last year’s record pace at 1.63 mill. t, while value increased 3% to $4.32 bn. For pork muscle cuts only, exports increased 6% from a year ago in volume (1.31 mill. t) and 4% in value ($3.58 bn).
August exports accounted for 21.9% of total pork production, down from 23.1% a year ago, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported held steady at 19.2%. For January through August, exports equaled 26.3% of total pork production (down from 26.9% a year ago), while the percentage of muscle cuts exported was 22.8% (up from 22.4%). Pork export value averaged $44.29 per head slaughtered in August, down 8% from a year ago, while the January-August per-head average dropped 1% to $53.28.
US pork currently faces retaliatory duties in two markets: China and Mexico. China’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts and variety meat increased from 12 to 37% in April and from 37 to 62% in July. Mexico’s duty rate on pork muscle cuts increased from zero to 10% in June and jumped to 20% in July (pork variety meats continue to enter Mexico duty-free). Beginning in June, Mexico also imposed a 15% duty on sausages and a 20% duty on some prepared or preserved hams and shoulders.
August pork exports to leading value market Japan increased 10% from a year ago to 34,935 t, valued at $146.8 mill. (up 5% and the highest of 2018). For January through August, exports were up 2% from a year ago in both volume (265,250 t) and value ($1.1 bn.). Pork exports to Korea continued to surge in August, increasing 39% in volume to 11,303 t and 40% in value to $31.3 mill. This pushed January-August exports to 159,536 t (up 43%) valued at $455.6 mill. (up 49%). Exports of pork variety meat, including bungs and feet, have contributed significantly to this growth. Through August, pork variety meat exports to Korea increased 84% from a year ago in volume (10,358 t) and more than doubled in value to $32.4 mill. (up 111%). Most US pork products enter Korea duty-free, and this will continue under the revised KORUS agreement.
August pork exports to leading volume market Mexico fell 4% from a year ago to 62,319 t, while value dropped 21% to $103 mill. Through August, exports to Mexico remained 2% ahead of last year’s record pace at 532,034 t, but value declined 6% to $921.1 mill. August exports to the China/Hong Kong region fell 43% from a year ago to 19,732 t, with value dropping 32% to $52.9 mill. For January through August, exports were down 24% in volume (257,939 t) and fell 13% in value to $615.9 mill.
January-August highlights for US pork exports include:
• Led by strong growth in Colombia and Peru, exports to South America increased 29% from a year ago in volume (82,153 t) and 24% in value ($204.4 mill.). A slow start to the year kept exports to Chile below last year’s record volume pace, but shipments regained momentum in July and August.
• Following a record performance in 2017, pork exports to Central America surged 20% higher in volume (52,528 t) and increased 17% in value ($123.8 mill.). Pork exports to all seven Central American nations have achieved double-digit growth in 2018.
• Exports to the Dominican Republic continue to gain momentum, increasing 30% in volume (29,480 t) and 25% in value ($64.5 mill.).
• Led by strong growth in the Philippines and Vietnam, exports to the ASEAN region increased 29% in volume (39,021 t) and 28% in value ($100.1 mill.). The ASEAN is an especially important destination for pork variety meat, with these exports nearly doubling from a year ago in both volume (14,273 t, up 99%) and value ($24.2 mill, up 94%).
• Exports to Australia were 9% ahead of last year’s record pace in both volume (51,070 t) and value ($147.5 mill.). Australia is the third-largest destination for US hams exported for further processing, trailing only Mexico and China/Hong Kong.