WASHINGTON – Beef sales set a new record in November as US red meat exports for the month recorded solid gains, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reported.

US beef exports jumped 11 percent in volume and 16 percent in value on sustained growth of exports to Japan and Hong Kong and the continued rebound of the Mexican market, according to USMEF. Eleven-month totals reached nearly 1.1 million metric tons, a 3 percent increase compared to the comparable period in 2012. Export value totaled $5.61 billion, up 11 percent over the pace set in 2013 and ahead of the 2012 year-end total of $5.51 billion.

“Market access…product availability…relationships. There are many factors that play a role in the export marketplace,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “We continue to see benefits from expanded market access for beef in Japan and Hong Kong. At the same time, the lack of access for U.S. beef to Mainland China and the closure of the Russian market for both pork and beef – which is approaching a year in duration – are significant barriers.”

Solid growth in markets for pork in Mexico and Central and South America lifted US pork exports to the highest totals of the year, USMEF reported. However, year-to-date pork exports lagged behind record numbers gained in 2012 by 6 percent in volume, or 1.95 million metric tons, valued at $5.5 billion, a 5 percent decline in value.

Seng said additional hurdles for US pork exports to both China and Japan have had a negative impact. US beef exports also have been challenged by a smaller US cattle herd and a concurrent surge in beef production in Australia.