April US pork, beef exports remain strong

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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DENVER – In April, US pork and beef exports slowed slightly compared to the all-time record highs of March, but still performed well above last year’s pace. April pork exports reached 181,109 metric tons valued at $487.8 million – up 16 percent in volume and 22 percent in value over last year. April beef exports totaled 103,213 metric tons valued at $429.7 million – increases of 25 percent and 38 percent, respectively, according to statistics released by US Department of Agriculture and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.

Through April, 2011 on a cumulative basis, pork exports were 18 percent ahead of 2010’s pace in volume (735,294 metric tons) and 24 percent higher in value ($1.87 billion). Beef exports were up 30 percent in volume (399,748 metric tons) and 48 percent in value ($1.63 billion).

Japan is still the leading value market for US pork by a wide margin, with year-to-date exports up 17 percent in both volume (163,775 metric tons) and value ($616.5 million).

South Korea, which has seen its domestic pork production devastated this year by foot-and-mouth disease, had the largest growth in US pork demand for the first four months of 2011, with US exports to South Korea up 187 percent in volume (97,357 metric tons) and 245 percent in value ($239.8 million). Exports to the China/Hong Kong region were also up through April, increasing 38 percent in volume (117,717 metric tons) and 26 percent in value ($170.4 million).

Exports to Mexico, the leading volume destination for US pork, remain below last year’s record pace, but reached 173,647 metric tons valued at $321 million. The only market that is down significantly from last year is the ASEAN region, where exports have declined 40 percent in volume (18,174 metric tons) and 29 percent in value ($40.3 million) primarily due to lower totals to the Philippines, where exports reached a record high last year due, in part, to tight domestic supplies.

Pork exports equated to $56.99 per head in April, breaking the record of $56.52 set the previous month and jumping by more than $12 over April 2010. Exports were equivalent to 28 percent of total US production in April and 27 percent for the year so far –up from about 23.5 percent a year ago.

In the first four months of 2011, US beef exports to South Korea increased more than 150 percent over 2010 to 65,754 metric tons valued at $283.9 million. South Korea made a strong push to become the leading value market for US beef and now trails only Mexico.

US beef exports to Mexico were up 7 percent in volume (82,490 metric tons) and 27 percent in value ($313.3 million) over last year. Canada remains in third place in both volume (52,325, up 15 percent) and value ($272.3, up 37 percent). Fourth-place Japan is closing fast with 44,369 metric tons valued at $245.2 million – up 66 percent in volume and 73 percent in value over last year.

Beef exports equated to $203.70 per head of fed slaughter in April, up nearly $63.00 (or 45 percent) from April 2010. For the year, exports equate to $190.80 per head. April exports equaled 14.5 percent of total US production compared to 11.2 percent last year. For the year, the US beef industry has exported 13.7 percent of total production.

In April, US lamb exports more than doubled over April 2010 in volume (2,112 metric tons) and climbed 65 percent in value to $3.5 million. For the year, exports were up nearly 40 percent in volume to 6,112 metric tons. For the first time this year, export value is also above the 2010 level at $9.85 million – an 8 percent increase over last year. This trend was driven by strong value growth in the Caribbean (up 24 percent to $2.5 million) and Canada (up 96 percent to $1.3 million).
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