U.S. red meat exports posted increases in value through the first seven months of this year compared to the same time last year, according to the latest statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) and provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports worldwide increased 27 percent in value to $1.42 billion and 16 percent in volume to 425,394 metric tons (mt) (937.8 million pounds) while U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports were up five percent in value to $1.7 billion, but declined five percent in volume to 704,138 mt (1.55 billion pounds).
Through July, Mexico continued to be the leading market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports with a volume of 202,500 mt (446.3 million pounds) valued at $670.8 million. Mexico, still the second-largest destination for U.S. pork and pork variety meat, posted a 27 percent decline in volume to 154,410 mt (340.4 million pounds) and a 22 percent decline in value to $248.2 million. However, export volume in July was 21,389 mt (47.1 million pounds), a 12 percent increase from the prior month.
Canada, although not an area where U.S. red meat marketing takes place, was the second-largest export market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat. Volume through July increased 31 percent to 69,716 mt (153.7 million pounds) and value was up 33 percent to $315.6 million. USMEF reports the increased volume is partially attributed to a 12-percent increase in slaughter cattle imports and a 17-percent increase in feeder cattle imports. Meanwhile, Canada is ranked third for U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports with a volume of 77,228 mt (170.3 million pounds) valued at $260.1 million. The strengthening Canadian dollar along with higher feed and labor costs are other dynamics driving trade, according to USMEF.
Moving from North America to Asia, the fourth-largest market for U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports was Japan with a volume of 5,387 mt (11.9 million pounds), the largest volume since the market reopened in late July last year. Through July, beef export volume to Japan was 26,025 mt (57.3 million pounds) while value was $132.8 million. Japan remained a lucrative market for U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports as volume increased seven percent through July to 209,591 mt (462 million pounds) and value increased 13 percent to $667.8 million, almost three times the value of the next market, Mexico.
USMEF reports the Middle East continued as an expanding area for U.S. beef and beef variety meat as export volume through July increased 15 percent to 55,658 mt (122.7 million pounds) valued at $62.1 million. USMEF also notes that U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports to the Caribbean in July set a new monthly record at 1,898 mt (4.1 million pounds). USMEF works extensively with Caribbean chefs, introducing new ways to use a variety of U.S. beef cuts, which provide the high quality and taste that tourists and islanders alike are looking for.
And for U.S. pork and pork variety meat exports, volume to Australia went up 39 percent to 20,353 mt (44.8 million pounds) through July and value increased 47 percent to $62.8 million. The Australian pork industry continues to struggle with high feed prices and the strengthening Australian dollar. According to a recent report, Australian pork producers are losing around $30 per pig sold.
For a complete breakdown of export statistics, visit the USMEF Statistics page at http://usmef.org/TradeLibrary/Statistics.asp. For more information on USMEF activities and strategies for a specific country or region, visit the International Markets page at http://usmef.org/TradeLibrary/Markets.asp.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.