WASHINGTON – While November 2018 US meat export statistics were delayed due to the partial government shutdown, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reported on Feb. 7, strong numbers for beef while pork exports continued to trend down.

Beef exports ticked up 1 percent from a year ago to 112,842 metric tons (mt) in November. Value also climbed 6 percent to $709.2 million. Additionally, beef exports gained 8 percent in volume (1.24 million mt) and 6 percent above the record pace from 2011 during the period of January through November. In the value category, beef increased 16 percent ($7.63 billion) and broke the full-year record set in 2017 of $7.27 billion.

Beef export value equated to $322.97 per head of fed slaughter in November, which was up 5 percent from 2017 and up 14 percent for the first 11 months of 2018 at $320.72.

For the month of October, 13.1 percent of the beef produced was exported and 10.9 percent were muscle cuts only, which was similar to November 2017. For January through November, exports equated to 13.4 percent of total production and 11.1 percent for muscle cuts only- up from 12.8 percent and 10.3 percent respectively for 2017.

“These numbers highlight the strong international demand for US beef as exports are accounting for a larger share of growing US production and are fetching higher prices, with some US cuts trading at record prices in Asia,” USMEF said in the report.

Pork exports totaled 206,852 metric tons which is down 8 percent year-over-year in November, while value fell 12 percent to $538.7 million as the impact of retaliatory duties from Mexico and China throughout 2018 continued to hurt the export market. For January through November 2018, exports were steady with 2017’s record pace at 2.23 million mt and value was down 1 percent to $5.86 billion.

Pork export value equated to $48.40 per head of fed slaughter in November which is down 16 percent from 2017 and down 3 percent for the first 11 months of 2018 at $51.46.

During the month of November, 24.5 percent of the pork produced was exported and 22 percent was muscle cuts only, which was steady with November 2017. For January through November, exports equated to 25.7 percent of total production, down from 26.5 percent in 2017, and 22.4 percent for muscle cuts only up slightly from 2017.

"2018 was truly a remarkable year for US beef exports, which shattered previous records in both volume and value and reached new heights in several of our top markets," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "In the first half of the year, pork exports were also on a very positive trajectory but unfortunately US pork has been heavily targeted for retaliation. We remain hopeful that these disputes can be resolved soon, so that US pork can get back on a level playing field with its competitors."

November exports of US lamb were the largest of 2018 in both volume (1,387 mt, up 167 percent year-over-year) and value ($2.4 million, up 39 percent). Lamb muscle cuts trended lower in November at 232 mt (down 18 percent) valued at $1.46 million (down 3 percent). For January through November, lamb exports reached 11,758 mt valued at $21.4 million – up 77 percent and 21 percent, respectively, from a year ago.