March exports of U.S. beef were down in volume from a year ago but edged slightly higher in value, while pork exports slumped on lower results in several mainstay markets.
According to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), March beef export volume of 83,612 t was down 7% from a year ago but export value ($440.7 mill.) was slightly higher. Beef exports finished the first quarter 4% lower in volume (256,587 t) but 5% ahead of last year's record pace in value ($1.3 bill.).
March pork exports declined 18% from a year ago in both volume (163,004 t) and value ($469.5 mill.), hampered by a beta agonist-related market closure in Russia, larger domestic supplies in China and South Korea and weakened demand in top markets Japan and Mexico. For the first quarter, pork exports fell 12% below last year's record pace in volume (528,195 t) and 11% in value ($1.49 bill.).
March beef exports equated to 9% of U.S. muscle cut production and 12% when adding variety meat - ratios consistent with a year ago. Export value equated to $222.20 per head of fed slaughter, up from 9% in March 2012. First quarter export value was $221, also an increase of 9%.
Pork exports accounted for 20% of muscle cut production in March and 23.4% including variety meat. This is down from 24% and 27.8%, respectively, in March 2012. March export value equated to $50.38 per head, down from $59.92 in March 2012. First-quarter export value averaged $53.38 per head, down 10% from a year ago.
Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation