USA, Washington. April proved to be a solid month for US pork exports despite COVID-19 related interruptions in production and declining purchasing power of some key trading partners, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports remained well above year-ago levels but slowed from the record pace established in the first quarter.
While China/Hong Kong continued to be the pacesetter for US pork export growth, April exports also increased significantly to Japan, Vietnam and Chile. April volume reached 264,048 t, up 22% from a year ago but the lowest since November 2019. Export value was $682.8 mill., up 28% year-over-year but the lowest since October 2019. Through the first four months of 2020, pork exports remain on a record pace at 1.1 mill. t, up 35% from a year ago, with value up 45% to $2.91 bn.
With production down significantly from the record levels achieved in March, pork export value per head slaughtered jumped to a record $72.55 in April, up 43% from a year ago. The January-April per-head average was $66.36, up 40%. April exports accounted for 36.2% of total pork production and 32.2% for pork muscle cuts, each up nearly 10 percentage points from a year ago. Through April, exports accounted for 32.4% of total pork production and 29.3% for muscle cuts, up from 24.9% and 21.8%, respectively, in the first four months of 2019.