Pork exports were the largest since 2014, USMEF reported. 

WASHINGTON – October pork exports jumped 14 percent year-over-year to 201,936 metric tons, the largest monthly volume since March 2014, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reported. Export value was $521.1 million, up 16 percent.

“With pork production at a record level and beef production also on the rise, it is imperative that we work to expand global demand and accelerate the volume of product entering the international markets,” Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO, said in a statement. “With strong support from USDA, our US industry partners and our international contacts, USMEF has intensified its marketing efforts in key destinations and capitalized on opportunities to regain market share — not only in mainstay markets such as Japan, Mexico and South Korea, but in a wide range of countries. This has laid the groundwork for a strong finish to this year and further growth in 2017.”

USMEF said export value per head slaughtered averaged $47 in October, an 8 percent year-over-year increase, while January through October export value averaged $49, steady with the same year-ago period. Exports accounted for 25.5 percent of total pork production in October and 21 percent for muscle cuts only, according to USMEF.

Pork exports to Mexico remained strong in October. For the month, US pork exports grew 9 percent in volume (65,271 mt.) and 6 percent in value ($115.2 million). Pork exports to Mexico nearly reached last year’s record pace in volume, pulling to within 2 percent of that goal, USMEF said, while remaining 1 percent higher in value at $1.05 billion. Hams were the highest-volume export item to Mexico, according to USMEF. In pesos, US ham prices climbed 21 percent higher in October compared to October 2015.

“Ham prices strengthened further in November, and weekly export data showed even larger shipments to Mexico,” USMEF said. “To overcome the difficult exchange rate situation, USMEF has emphasized the quality and consistency of US hams with Mexico’s meat processors and worked with these companies on new product development.”

Pork exports to Japan advanced 4 percent in volume (30,987 mt.) and 9 percent in value ($127.9 million). Exports of chilled pork to Japan continued on a record pace through October, climbing 9 percent year-over-year to 180,793 mt. For the first 10 months of 2016, pork exports to Japan declined 7 percent below last year’s pace in volume (320,491 mt.) and 4 percent lower in value ($1.29 billion), USMEF said.

A rebound in China’s domestic pork production had a moderating effect on pork muscle cuts to China/Hong Kong in October. However, exports of variety meats remained strong. Total pork/pork variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong for January through October were up 66 percent from a year ago in volume (450,257 mt.) and 55 percent higher in value ($878.8 million).