U.S. pork and beef exports in July were up from June, but still down from a year ago, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
"China's pork demand has moderated and we are also entering a time when year-over-year gains are not nearly as dramatic, as exports to China began gaining momentum in mid-2019. But pork exports to Mexico showed encouraging signs of recovery in July and we also saw promising growth in several emerging markets, including Vietnam and the Philippines,” says Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO, in a release.
July pork exports totaled 222,035 metric tons, down 5% from a year ago, while export value fell 12% to $548.3 million. Exports increased year-over-year to China/Hong Kong, Canada, the Philippines, Vietnam and the Caribbean, according to a USMEF release. Exports to Mexico were below last year but the largest since March. Meanwhile, shipments to Japan were also down from a year ago but the largest since April.
Pork exports remained 20% ahead of last year's record pace in volume (1.78 million mt) and 22% higher in value ($4.6 billion) from January to July.
Beef exports on the rise
"With production returning to near-normal levels, we definitely saw an improvement in beef exports, though the recovery was not quite as strong as expected," Halstrom says.
July beef exports totaled 107,298 metric tons, up 36% from June but still 9% below last year, the release says. Export value was $647.8 million, the highest since March but down 10% from 2019. July exports to China increased sharply year-over-year and shipments trended higher to Taiwan, Canada and Hong Kong. July exports were below year-ago levels to Japan and South Korea and declined significantly to Mexico.
From January through July, beef exports were 9% below last year's pace in volume (698,907 mt) and 10% lower in value ($4.28 billion).
“It is also important to remember that the monthly export data is in the rear-view mirror and that weekly export sales data, along with observations from our USMEF-China team, suggest that China's demand for both U.S. pork and beef will be strong through the balance of the year, including purchases for Chinese New Year,” Halstrom says in the release. “When combined with the rebound in other main markets, growth in emerging markets and the return of the U.S. supply advantage, USMEF remains optimistic about a strong finish for U.S. red meat exports in 2020, despite many challenges related to COVID-19."