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Positive Start to 2014 for US Red Meat Exports

13 March 2014

US - Beef, pork and lamb exports all opened the new year on a positive note, although market conditions suggest 2014 could be a challenging year for US red meat exports, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef exports continued the strong performance set in 2013, rising 13 per cent in volume and 16 per cent in value for the month, bolstered by double-digit growth to Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong. Pork exports rose three per cent in volume and two per cent in value for the month, driven by growth to Mexico, while lamb exports increased seven per cent in volume and nine per cent in value.

While price is just one of many factors that affect red meat trade, higher US pork and beef prices will create challenges for American red meat exports in the months ahead, particularly in markets where customers are more price sensitive.

Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO, commented: “In pork, there are a number of recognised challenges on the production side as well as unresolved access issues. In addition, we are also seeing increased competition in the form of higher marketing budgets and favourable prices for the EU, Brazil and Canada.”

Mr Seng also noted that with US beef production expected to drop five per cent this year, and already running below last year’s levels, it will be challenging to maintain export levels.

Beef

Strong performances in the key markets of Mexico, Japan and Hong Kong, plus solid growth in Central/South America - Chile is the top destination, but with triple-digit growth to Colombia -  offset a drop in exports to Canada (down 26 per cent in volume and 21 per cent in value), partially driven by the weaker Canadian dollar, as well as declines in the value of exports to the Middle East and volume to South Korea.

In addition, the re-emerging Indonesian market was the eighth-largest single-country destination by volume as exports continued the strong pace set back in October following improved market access conditions.

January exports of 97,824 metric tons (mt) were up 13 per cent. Export value rose 16 per cent year-over-year to $514.5 million. Exports accounted for 13 per cent of total beef production (muscle cuts plus variety meat), and 10 per cent of muscle cuts alone – increases of two and one  per cent, respectively. The export value per head of fed slaughter was $219.73, up $14.79 from last year.

Top-performing beef export markets in January were:

  • Mexico: 20,228mt (up 23 per cent) valued at $93.6 million (up 27 per cent)
  • Japan: 15,655mt (up 53 per cent) valued at $92.9 million (up 28 per cent)
  • Hong Kong: 12,811mt (up 83 per cent) valued at $80.9 million (up 118 per cent)
  • Central/South America: 2,843mt (up 26 per cent) valued at $12.4 million (up 32 per cent)
  • Chile: 975mt (up 25 per cent) valued at $4.7 million (up 26 per cent)
  • Colombia: 369mt (up 258 per cent) valued at $1.3 million (up 243 per cent)
  • Indonesia: 1,741mt (up 3,314 per cent) valued at $4.6 million (up 879 per cent)

Pork

Solid export growth to Mexico and the largest export volume to Japan since October 2012 helped push US pork exports up three per cent in volume (191,561 mt) and two per cent in value ($535.6 million).

Sales to the Hong Kong/China region were steady in volume versus last January, but rose 15 per cent in value. The Central/South America region was up sharply, driven by triple-digit growth to Columbia, while both Oceania and the ASEAN region posted solid increases.

Pork exports accounted for 25.5 per cent of total pork production and 21 per cent of muscle cuts alone, up slightly from January of 2013. Export value averaged $54.70 per head, up $2.12 from last year.

Top-performing pork export markets in January were:

  • Mexico: 59,825mt (up nine per cent) valued at $113.2 million (up 10 per cent)
  • Japan: 39,069mt (up four per cent) valued at $163.4 million (down six per cent)
  • Hong Kong/China: 34,766mt (even) valued at $82.7 million (up 15 per cent)
  • Central/South America: 11,284mt (up 74 per cent) valued at $29.1 million (up 79 per cent)
  • Colombia: 4,732mt (up 258 per cent) valued at $12.4 million (up 270 per cent)
  • Oceania: 7,429mt (up 16 per cent) valued at $24.6 million (up 25 per cent)
  • New Zealand: 1,085mt (up 63 per cent) valued at $3.3 million (up 62 per cent)
  • Caribbean: 3,138mt (up 22 per cent) valued at $7.3 million (up 14 per cent)

Lamb

Lamb exports for January increased seven per cent in volume to 1,056mt and nine per cent in value to $2.7 million.

Mexico remains the top lamb destination, purchasing 913mt valued at $1.5 million. The Caribbean, Canada and the Middle East follow in volume, although Central/South America is emerging as a market, largely driven by sales to Panama: 13mt (up 550 per cent) valued at $96,000 (up 243 per cent).

TheCattleSite News Desk



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