Editor’s notes: – Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat unless otherwise noted – One metric ton = 2,204.622 pounds
U.S. pork exports in July were slightly lower than a year ago while beef exports dipped moderately in volume, achieving their largest monthly total of 2012 while holding steady in value. These results are based on statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
“With higher operating costs, both the pork and beef sectors are facing serious economic challenges,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “Tight beef supplies have pushed prices higher and strong demand from our international customers is helping support higher beef cutout values. On the pork side, an increase in U.S. production has been offset by larger exports, helping drive the pork cutout to its peak in late June. With these factors in mind, it is absolutely critical that we remain aggressive with our international promotions and continue to capture the highest return possible on the products we export. Our pork and beef export value totals continue to outpace last year’s records, which is certainly a positive sign.”
July pork exports totaled 164,720 metric tons (mt), down nearly 3 percent from a year ago and the smallest volume since October 2010. Pork export value was also down less than 3 percent to $467.4 million. Despite these lower results, year-to-date exports through July remained very strong – 4 percent above last year’s record pace in volume (1.3 million mt) and 11 percent higher in value ($3.63 billion).
Pork export value per head slaughtered in July was $56.04, down from $58.84 a year ago. But for January through July, export value per head was about 8 percent higher than last year at $57.56. Exports equated to 23 percent of July production for muscle cuts and 26.5 percent when including variety meat. For January through July, these ratios were 24 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively.
While July beef export volume (108,971 mt) was 9.5 percent lower than a year ago, it was the largest monthly volume of 2012 and up 16 percent from June. Export value in July ($513.5 million) was slightly higher than a year ago and up 11 percent from June. Year-to-date exports through July remained 11 percent below the record pace of 2011 in volume (659,433 mt) but increased 4 percent in value to $3.17 billion.
July beef exports equated to 11 percent of production for muscle cuts and 14.3 percent when including variety meat. The respective ratios for January through July were 9.8 percent and 12.8 percent. Beef export value per head of fed slaughter totaled $235.18 in July – down less than 1 percent from the record set in July 2011. For January through July, per-head export value averaged $212.73 – topping last year’s pace by 7 percent.