US Exports of red meat positive in July

by Joel Crews
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DENVER – Due in large part to spiking trade volume of beef, exports of US red meat during the month of July posted positive results compared to the same month in 2015, while pork export volume and value increased during the month, according to the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF). In terms of value, beef exports declined from July 2015, while pork posted a substantial increase.

Beef exports to Japan and South Korea again, carried the day for beef. Beef export volume to Japan in July increased to 23,042 metric tons (mt), a 10 percent jump, with a value of $129 million, which was consistent with last July. Year-to-date, US beef exports to Japan were 12 percent higher through July vs. a year ago, at 145,358 mt, with its value up 4 percent, at $836.2 million. Meanwhile, chilled beef exports shipped to Japan were up 40 percent by volume, to 59,783 mt.

July beef exported to Korea from the US ramped up 37 percent (16,459 mt) with a value increase of 27 percent ($94.5 million). Year-to-date through July, exports of beef to Korea by volume were up 23 percent (90,401 mt) and 7 percent in value ($531 million) with chilled beef exports topping 12,249 mt, a 42 percent jump. According to USMEF, chilled beef continues to be steady and in high demand in Taiwan, where the US enjoys a 65 percent market share.

Conversely, beef variety meat demand to Egypt continues to slump, and US export volume decreases were seen again during July, “highlighting the need for more destinations for beef variety meat,” USMEF states. Total US beef variety meat exports increased in July with year-to-date volume increasing by 6 percent compared to 2015 (185,722 mt). Strong demand from countries that include Japan, Korea, Mexico, Chile and Colombia have bolstered demand for US variety meat exports.

“We are pleased to see demand for US beef variety meats increasing in other markets, and helping to offset the slowdown to Egypt,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “It is a top priority for USMEF and our beef industry partners to expand the reach of beef variety meat exports and build demand in alternative destinations, and those efforts are paying off.”

Pork exports increased 8 percent in July, to 180,547 mt and value during the month grew by 11 percent ($491.9 million), although value from January through July lagged by 2 percent ($3.27 billion) compared to last year.

Of the total pork production in the US in July, 27.5 percent was exported, 23 percent of which were muscle cuts. Pork exports to China/Hong Kong in July were the lowest since February 2016 but still up 47,701 mt in year-over-year volume. Value jumped 60 percent to $94 million during the period.   

Record-high volume of chilled pork exported to Japan continued, with 126.394 mt constituting 12 percent growth through July. Meanwhile, total US pork exports for the month slipped 6 percent (30,479 mt) and export value dropped 10 percent ($879.5 million).

According to USMEF: “Although Europe is dominating Japan’s frozen pork imports for further processing into ham and bacon, US exports of high-quality chilled pork have fully rebounded from the West Coast port issues of 2015 and are reaching new heights.”

Sustained pork demand in 2016 from trading partners in Honduras and Guatemala have made Central America a valued market for US pork exports. Through July, shipments to the region have grown by 16 percent in volume (36,536 mt) and 8 percent in value, at $85.7 million. Strong demand in the Dominican Republic has also continued.

Canada and Australia exports both reported increases in pork export volumes and values. Canada’s January-July volume topped 113,600 mt, a 2 percent uptick while Australia’s year-to-date volume totaled 39,010 mt (a 9 percent increase) valued at $106.5 million (a 3 percent decline)

“While it is encouraging to see the strong results in China/Hong Kong continue,” Seng said, “the reality is that China’s domestic pork prices have fallen and import demand has slowed. That’s why it is so vitally important that we defend US pork’s market share and further expand demand in markets around the world. The competitiveness of US pork is also improving, and this should boost exports through the end of the year.”

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