Total Production Exported Climbs to 26.9%

U.S. pork exports totaled 183,658 mt in August, which is down 2% year-over-year. January-August volume remained 9% above last year’s record pace at 1.61 million mt, while export value increased 11% to $4.21 billion.

Exports accounted for 23.1% of total pork production in August (down slightly from a year ago).

For the first eight months of the year, the percentage of total production exported was 26.9% (up from 25.4% last year). For pork muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 22.4% (up from 21.3%).

Export value per head slaughtered trended lower in August at $47.98, down 3% from a year ago, but the January-August average was still up 8% to $53.28.

“As we head into the final quarter, 2017 is shaping up as a very solid year for red meat exports but one in which the U.S. industry still faces significant challenges,” says Philip Seng, CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. “We have new pork plants coming on line and strong cattle-on-feed numbers, which sends a positive signal to our international customers about product availability. But the international markets are increasingly competitive, so we must continue to aggressively pursue new opportunities for U.S. red meat products in both our traditional mainstay destinations and in emerging markets.”

Steady Pork Exports to Mexico in August; China/Hong Kong Rebounds
Pork exports to Mexico remained on pace for a sixth consecutive volume record in August, with volume up slightly from a year ago to 65,037 mt. Export value also increased slightly to $129.6 million.

Through August, exports increased 18% in volume (522,227 mt) and 22% in value ($984.1 million).

Exports to Japan, the leading value market for U.S. pork, declined in August as volume dipped 9%. Through August, exports to Japan remained modestly higher year-over-year in both volume and value. August chilled pork exports to Japan were the largest since March, though January-August volume was still down 3% from last year’s record pace. Chilled export value through August was $674.2 million, up 3% from a year ago. The U.S. competes primarily with Canadian pork in Japan’s high-value chilled pork market.

Other January-August highlights
While August exports slowed year-over-year, U.S. pork continues to capitalize on strong red meat consumption growth in South Korea. January-August pork exports to Korea climbed 27 percent in volume (111,271 mt) and 32 percent in value ($305 million). Korea is an especially strong destination for pork used in further processing, but the market is highly competitive with the U.S., Chile and the European Union shipping pork to Korea duty-free under their respective free trade agreements. Canadian pork also enjoys reduced duties under an FTA with Korea.

In the China/Hong Kong region, August export volume was lower than a year ago but rebounded compared to the previous month. August exports were 34,616 mt (down 8% year-over-year but up 8% from July). January-August exports to the region were 8% below last year’s pace in volume (341,080 mt) but down only 1% in value ($705.5 million).

Led by strong growth in Colombia, Chile and Peru, pork exports to South America remain a record pace with a near-doubling of export volume (63,922 mt, up 96%and value doubling to $164.8 million.

Despite slowing modestly year-over-year in August, pork exports to Central America are also on a record pace. Led by mainstay market Honduras, export volume was up 5% from a year ago, valued at $105.7 million (up 7%).

Strong growth in the Philippines and Singapore fueled a 22% increase (to 30,284 mt) in pork exports to the ASEAN region, valued at $78.4 million (up 33%).

Complete January-August export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics web page.