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July Pork Exports Rise, Beef Exports Slow

July Pork Exports Rise, Beef Exports Slow

Building on a robust first-half performance, July exports of U.S. pork continued to outpace year-ago levels, according to data released by USDA and compiled by USMEF. Beef exports took a step back in July, posting the lowest volume since January, but export value per head of fed slaughter again exceeded $400.

July pork exports totaled 219,014 metric tons (mt), up 5% year-over-year, while export value increased 1% to $628.7 million. Through the first seven months of 2023, pork exports were 13% above last year’s pace at 1.69 million mt, valued at $4.67 billion (up 10%).

“Market diversification has been the top priority for the U.S. pork industry and those efforts are certainly reflected again in these results,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “In July, exports trended lower to China/Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, but our Western Hemisphere markets and other destinations in the Asia-Pacific continued to shine. This is exactly the type of broad international footprint the industry needs to maintain consistent export growth.”

July beef exports totaled 103,167 mt, down 18% from a year ago and the lowest in six months. Export value was $810.4 million, down 19% and the lowest since February. For January through July, beef exports trailed last year’s record pace by 11% in volume (772,343 mt) and 19% in value ($5.81 billion).

“It’s definitely a challenging environment on the beef side, due in part to limited supplies but also persistent headwinds in our key Asian markets,” Halstrom explained. “Though it’s taking longer than anticipated, we still expect a broader foodservice rebound in Asia. And some bright spots for U.S. beef include sustained demand in Taiwan, especially for alternative beef cuts, and the continued momentum in Mexico. It’s also encouraging to see per-head export value maintaining a high level. This is an important metric for gauging the returns delivered by the international markets, even when our production is trending lower.”

Western Hemisphere markets bolster July pork exports

Pork exports to leading market Mexico continue to far exceed last year’s record pace, with July shipments up 15% from a year ago to 81,081 mt. July export value increased 12% to $189.4 million. January-July exports to Mexico increased 14% from a year ago to 614,015 mt, while value soared 20% to $1.26 billion. This included a surge in pork variety meat exports, which increased 47% to 90,311 mt, valued at $160.6 million (up 43%).

July was another strong month for pork exports to Central America, which increased 23% from a year ago to 9,138 mt, valued at $27.3 million (up 26%). January-July shipments to the region were up 6% to 70,828 mt, while value climbed 12% to $203.2 million. Growth was fueled by strong demand in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Taiwan’s demand for U.S. pork continues to make an impressive rebound in 2023. July exports to Taiwan were 2,388 mt, up from just 352 mt a year ago. July value reached $7.8 million, up from just $880,000. January-July exports were the largest since 2013, increasing 539% from a year ago to 12,668 mt, while value climbed 627% to $41.3 million. This year’s exports to Taiwan already exceed the combined results from calendar years 2021 and 2002, which totaled only 9,500 mt valued at $29 million.

Other January-July export results for U.S. pork include:

Although pork exports to South Korea trended lower in July, shipments through the first seven months of the year still increased 6% to 113,756 mt. Export value declined slightly, falling 1% to $370.6 million. In recent months, Korea has implemented duty-free quotas for imported pork as part of its effort to combat food price inflation. These quotas mainly benefit Canadian, Mexican and Brazilian pork, as imports from the U.S., European Union and Chile already enter at zero duty under free trade agreements with Korea.

Pork exports to China/Hong Kong, which are currently primarily variety meat, were also lower in July but remain well ahead of last year’s pace. January-July shipments totaled 315,539 mt, up 18% year-over-year, valued at $813.6 million (up 14%).

In Japan, July pork exports were down 12% from a year ago to 25,357 mt, while value fell 9% to $106. 9 million. This pushed January-July shipments 3% below last year’s pace at 212,626 mt, valued at $856.3 million (down 6%).

July pork exports to Canada increased 15% from a year ago to 16,615 mt, valued at $67 million (up 2%). Through July, exports to Canada were 11% above last year at 119,341 mt, though value fell 1% to $472.2 million.

Fueled by solid growth in the Philippines and Vietnam and surging demand from Malaysia, pork exports to the ASEAN region reached 43,689 mt through July, up 51% from a year ago, while value increased 26% to $103.5 million. Domestic production in the Philippines and Malaysia continues to be impacted by African swine fever. Opportunities for U.S. exporters have also increased due to tighter supplies of European pork.

Demand for U.S. pork has rebounded dramatically in both Australia and New Zealand, pushing January-July exports to 45,173 mt, up 74% from a year ago. Export value increased 64% to $159.1 million. While market access is limited, fresh/frozen U.S. pork may be imported for further processing and the region has a growing appetite for value-added processed U.S. pork products.

Exports to the Dominican Republic are on a record pace through July, totaling 60,518 mt (up 26% from a year ago) valued at $163.4 million (up 34%). Brazil was recently granted access for a few pork establishments, adding to competition from the United Kingdom, Canada and the European Union. However, the U.S. is the DR’s dominant pork supplier and the only one with zero-duty access through a free trade agreement.

In addition to the growth achieved in Mexico (see above), July exports of pork variety meat also increased year-over-year to the ASEAN, Canada, Korea, Central America and the Caribbean. This offset a decline to leading market China, though January-July exports to China are still on a record pace. July variety meat exports were up 6% to 48,057 mt, valued at $108.9 million (up 4%). January-July shipments established a record pace, totaling 345,070 mt, up 28% from a year ago, valued at $812.7 million (up 19%).

July pork export value equated to $65.38 per head slaughtered, down 3% from a year ago, while the January-July average increased 8% to $64.07. Exports accounted for 30.3% of total July pork production, up one percentage point from a year ago. For muscle cuts only, exports accounted for 25.5% of production, up from 24.7%. For January through July, these ratios were 29.9% of total production and 25.6% for muscle cuts, up from 26.8% and 23.6%, respectively, a year ago.



Photo Credit: gettyimages-art-wager

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