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Red Meat Exports Remain Strong in February

10 April 2014

US - Buoyed by double-digit export growth to Mexico – the largest volume market for all US red meat exports – US pork and beef exports performed well in February despite growing concerns about tight supplies and rising prices, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Beef sales to Mexico in the first two months of 2014 are up 26 per cent in volume to 37,638 metric tons (mt) and 40 per cent in value ($183 million), while pork exports are 16 per cent higher in volume (113,677 mt) and 21 per cent in value ($222.3 million). Mexico also is the largest volume and value market for US lamb exports.

February pork exports totaled 182,412 mt, up two per cent from a year ago, while export value also rose 2 per cent to $506.4 million. Cumulative exports for the first two months of the year similarly were 2 per cent ahead of last year’s pace in both volume (373,973 mt) and value ($1.04 billion).

February beef export volume was down slightly from a year ago to 85,876 mt, reflecting smaller variety meat exports, but value was up 12 per cent to $480.3 million. January-February exports were 6 per cent higher in volume (183,700 mt) and 14 per cent in value ($994.8 million).

"Mexico continues to be an invaluable trading partner for our industry," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

Pork highlights

February pork exports equated to 27.5 per cent of total pork production (muscle cuts plus variety meat) and 23 per cent of muscle cut production alone. Export value averaged $58.42 per head slaughtered, up 2 per cent from a year ago and the highest monthly average since March 2012.

Strong demand in Mexico continues to be an important driver of US pork exports, as February shipments far exceeded last year’s totals and even topped the very strong results posted in February 2012.

"Just as the PED virus has had an impact on domestic pork production in Mexico, it has likely been a factor in pork imports trending higher to South Korea," said Mr Seng.

Top performing markets in February (with comparisons to a year ago) included:

  • Mexico, up 25 per cent in volume (53,852 mt) and 35 per cent in value ($109.1 million).
  • Exports to Japan, the leading value market for US pork, were 7 per cent higher in volume (35,692) but 5 per cent lower in value ($139.8 million).
  • Volume edged higher in Korea (12,643 mt, +3 per cent) and export value climbed 10 per cent to $36.6 million.
  • Exports to Colombia, which has quickly emerged as the largest market for US pork in the Central-South America region, nearly doubled in both volume (4,288 mt, +88 per cent) and value ($11 million, +89 per cent).
  • Exports to Australia continued to rebound (5,987 mt, +11 per cent with value $20.4 million up 17 per cent).

Exports trended lower in February to China/Hong Kong on sharply lower demand for variety meat. Exports to Canada struggled in part due to the weakened Canadian dollar.

Beef highlights

February beef exports equated to 14 per cent of total beef production and 11 per cent of muscle cut production alone. Export value averaged $277.40 per head of fed slaughter, up 16 per cent from a year ago and just short of the record total achieved in December 2013 ($279.16).

Top performing markets in February (with comparisons to a year ago) included:

  • Japan was sharply higher than a year ago in both volume (14,377 mt, +48 per cent) and value ($91.7 million, +40 per cent), as exports to Japan under the expanded 30-month age restriction did not gain momentum until March 2013.
  • Exports to Mexico were up 29 per cent in volume (17,410 mt, though this was the smallest monthly total since May) and surged 56 per cent in value ($89.3 million).
  • Hong Kong continued to build on its strong 2013 performance, with exports increasing 15 per cent in volume (10,024 mt) and 32 per cent in value ($63.9 million).
  • Coming off two down years caused by import restrictions, and continuing the momentum from October 2013, Indonesia was US beef’s top destination in Southeast Asia with exports totaling 1,136 mt valued at $5.1 million.

Similar to US pork, beef exports to Canada have slumped along with the purchasing power of the Canadian dollar. Exports are also off to a slow start this year in Egypt, Taiwan and the Philippines. Smaller volumes have been exported to Korea, but at higher prices, with value up 17 per cent in the first two months of the year.

Lamb highlights

Lamb exports in February rose one per cent in value ($2 million) on 6 per cent lower volumes (849 mt). Mexico continues to be the dominant purchaser, accounting for 86.8 per cent of the volume of lamb exports in the first two months of the year and 55.1 per cent of the value. The Caribbean is the No. 2 market, with exports through the first two months of 2014 up 49 per cent in volume and 23 per cent in value. Saudi Arabia, which continues to emerge as a destination for US lamb, is the third-largest single-country export market behind Mexico and Canada.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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