DENVER – US beef and pork’s September export results were strong, said Dan Halstrom, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the US Meat Export Federation. Japan, the Middle East and South Korea drove growth in the beef sector, while China, Central America and the ASEAN region (Southeast Asia) were the growth leaders in terms of pork trade, he added.

Although the weaker US dollar has boosted the competitiveness of US products overseas, it’s not the only factor driving export growth, Halstrom explains. He notes both beef and pork exports are increasing even faster in value than in volume, which is indicative of strong demand.

“On the beef side, three markets stand out,” Halstrom said. “Japan continues to perform very well up 56% versus a year ago for the month of September and 29% year-to-date. The Middle East is another area that continues to amaze us, up 39% from a year ago. And South Korea is really the big one with 136% growth year-to-date. So for beef as a total, we exported 11% of our production in the month of September and the export value per head equated to about $151 per head.

“The numbers on pork stand out in China, in particular,” he added. “We saw dramatic growth year-on-year in China. The ASEAN region is also doing very well on pork, up 36% on volume. The other one that stands out is the Central American region, which is up 33% as well. We exported 23.7% of our production and the export value per head came in at $43.62.”

While the weaker US dollar has recently made US products more competitive, Halstom says that’s not the only factor driving export growth.

“On the pork side, we see a 2% increase globally on the volume,” he added. “The weaker dollar helps, but my point is these prices continue to go up and our value year-to-date is actually up 9%. So, we’re actually exporting at a higher value, which would reflect we are getting more money for the product—the demand is there.

“On the beef side, it’s the same story,” he continues. “Year-to-date volume is up 16% globally versus last year. And the value exported globally is up 27%. So, you can see even though the volume is up, the value is up disproportionally higher.”