US beef, pork exports 'on a roll'

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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DENVER – US beef and pork exports for August were solid. Both easily outpaced the results of August 2009 and increased their gains over the cumulative totals from the first eight months of 2009, according to the US Meat Export Federation.

Beef exports for the month increased 24% in volume and 43% in value compared to August 2009, totaling 92,579 metric tons (one metric ton equals 2,204.622 lbs.) valued at $373.7 million. The cumulative January-August totals were up 16% in volume (680,609 metric tons) and 27% in value ($2.57 billion). This value total is 9% higher than the corresponding pre-bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) value total from January-August 2003.

Korea remains the largest growth market, with exports of 73,625 metric tons valued at $345 million (an increase of 131% and 175%, respectively).

August pork exports were up 9% in volume and 16% in value over last year, totaling 146,459 metric tons valued at $369 million. For January through August, exports totaled 1.244 million metric tons valued at $3.11 billion. The volume is 3% higher than 2009, while the value is up 9% over last year and trails the record pace of 2008 by 3%. Mexico ($644 million, up 32%) and Canada ($409 million, up 25%) led pork export value growth, but exports to Japan (the largest value market for US pork) were also up 3% in value to $1.09 billion.

All major beef export markets showed strong growth through the first eight months of the year except for Vietnam (which is down slightly in volume but still up 12% in value) and Mexico, which is down 21%in volume and 18% in value. August results for Mexico were somewhat encouraging, however, as volume (20,959 metric tons) was down slightly from last year but value (just over $70 million) was 6% higher.

Canada remains the second-largest market for U.S. beef. Export volume (98,022 metric tons) to Canada is relatively flat this year, but value is up 8% to $461.1 million. August was a strong month for Canada, with exports rising nearly 10% in volume and 25% in value over August 2009.

Japan is closing the gap on Canada as beef exports reached 78,879 metric tons valued at $404.3 million. Export growth to Japan has been strong and steady throughout the year, holding at 26% for both volume and value. August growth was slightly better, however, exceeding 30% over August 2009.

While U.S. pork exports achieved excellent growth in Mexico and Canada, smaller markets in the Western Hemisphere also performed extremely well. Exports to Central and South America climbed 34% in volume (36,762 metric tons) and 36% in value ($84.9 million), led by strong results in Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia.

While Japan remains the largest export value market by a large margin, export volume to Japan also achieved a small increase over last year to 291,821 metric tons. The value total of $1.09 billion is actually well ahead of the pace set in 2008, when exports to Japan set an all-time value record. Increasing domestic inventories in Japan, however, make a new record unlikely in 2010.

US lamb exports to Mexico are up 56% in volume and 70% in value, easily making it the leading market in both categories. Exports to Costa Rica have also performed well this year.

For the year, US lamb exports are down 23% in volume to 2,328 metric tons and 7% in value to $3.2 million.
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