June exports of U.S. pork fell below year-ago levels for the first time this year but exports remain on a record pace in 2020, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
"We expected that the interruptions in red meat production would continue to weigh on June exports, but anticipated more of a rebound from the low May totals - particularly for beef," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom, in a release with the data. "But it takes time for the entire chain to adjust to supply shocks, and thus it was another difficult month for exports. However, weekly U.S. export data suggest an upward trend in demand in most markets, and with production recovering the U.S. has regained its supply advantage. So we expect beef and pork exports to regain momentum in the second half of the year."
June pork exports were down 3% from a year ago, totaling 207,181 metric tons (mt), while export value fell 9% to $516.3 million. Exports continued to trend higher than a year ago to China/Hong Kong, but were the lowest since October. Exports also increased year-over-year to the ASEAN region, the Caribbean, Honduras and Taiwan and were sharply higher for Albania and Ukraine. However, shipments trended lower to Mexico, Japan, South Korea and South America. Despite the June decline, first-half pork exports were still 24% ahead of last year's record pace in volume (1.55 million mt) and 29% higher in value ($4.05 billion).
Exports accounted for 24% of total pork production in June and 22.2% of muscle cut production, down substantially from a year ago (27.8% and 24%, respectively). Exports accounted for 31.5% of total pork production and 28.6% for muscle cuts, for the first half of the year, up from 25.8% and 22.4%, respectively, last year. Export value per head slaughtered averaged $46.19 in June, down 19% from a year ago and down sharply from the high levels achieved in April and May. The January-June average was $63.61 per head, up 27% from a year ago.
A complete summary of January-June exports of U.S. pork, beef and lamb, including market-specific highlights, is available online.