U.S. red meat exports continue upward climb

by MEAT&POULTRY Staff
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DENVER — Seeing that pork was up 20% and beef increased 9% (including variety meat) for November 2008 compared to November 2007, U.S. red-meat exports continued their strong growth pace, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Pork and pork variety meat exports for the first 11 months of 2008 were 61% larger than 2007, approaching the 2 million metric ton mark (1,898,698 metric tons or 4.18 billion pounds). Pork exports from January through November 2008 months were valued at $4.5 billion, an increase of 59%.

Meanwhile, January through November U.S. beef exports increased 37% to 582,270 metric tons (1.28 billion pounds) with variety meat exports up 18% to 331,479 metric tons (730.8 million pounds). Total beef exports of 913,739 metric tons (2.01 billion pounds) were up 29% and valued at $3.37 billion, an increase of 40%. Beef exports for 2008 are on pace to reach 94% of the 2003 export value.

"As currencies and prices stabilize, inventories will decline and demand for U.S. red meat will likely continue at a relatively strong level," said Erin Daley, USMEF economist.

Pork and pork variety meat exports for the first 11 months of 2008 accounted for approximately 25% of production, with export value equating to $43 per head slaughtered compared to less than $30 per head during the same period in 2007, Ms. Daley said.

Approximately 11% of U.S. beef and beef variety meat production was exported in January through November 2008. Export value equated to $134.83 per head of steer and heifer slaughter. In 2003, approximately 13% of production was exported, with exports equating to $136.46 per head.

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