April pork exports smash previous record, beef exports continue upward trend
U.S. pork continues to shine in the export market, eclipsing the previous one-month record by nearly 12 percent to reach 175,640 metric tons (387.2 million pounds) of pork and pork variety meat valued at $391.5 million in April. The previous record of 156,959 metric tons (346 million pounds) was set in February.
The pork success story is even more impressive looking at the first four months of 2008 versus a year ago. Total pork exports for 2008 are up an impressive 52 percent over the year prior, equaling 629,682 metric tons (1.38 billion pounds) valued at $1.4 billion.
“U.S. pork has set export records for 16 consecutive years, and there’s no sign that the world’s appetite for U.S. pork is slackening one bit,” said Erin Daley, manager of research and analysis for the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Daley noted that for the first four months of 2008, exports accounted for 22 percent of total U.S. pork and pork variety meat production, versus 16.5 percent last year.
At the same time, U.S. beef exports are enjoying their own surge. Exports of beef and beef variety meat jumped 31 percent in volume and nearly 39 percent in value in April 2008 over April 2007. That mirrors gains in the first four months of 2008, which registered a 29.5 percent jump in volume (463.2 million pounds a year ago to 600.1 million pounds in 2008) and 39.9 percent in value ($944,538 in the first four months of 2008 versus $675,140 a year ago).
Beef exports (not including variety meat) for the first four months of 2008 increased 36 percent to 162,446 metric tons (358.1 million pounds), a 39 percent increase in value to $704.25 million. Beef variety meat exports were up 22 percent to 109,775 metric tons.
Daley noted that beef and beef variety meats accounted for nine percent of U.S. production volume in the first four months of 2008, compared to 13 percent for the first four months of 2003 (pre-BSE).
“Considering that South Korea and China are closed to U.S. beef and the Japanese market is severely limited, U.S. beef exports are rebounding at a healthy rate,” Daley said.
Japan is still the top market with total pork exports up 17 percent to 144,950 metric tons (319.5 million pounds) valued at $460 million.
The China/Hong Kong region follows closely behind with exports up 311 percent to 144,800 metric tons (319.2 million pounds) valued at $243.5 million. April exports set a new monthly record for the region – 42,331 metric tons (93.3 million pounds), up from the February record of 40,894 metric tons (90.1 million pounds) and a recovery after exports dipped to 27,724 metric tons (61.1 million pounds) in March.
Exports to Mexico are up 10 percent to 103,682 metric tons (228.5 million pounds), but still lag record 2006 volumes by 16 percent.
A new record in Russia as well, with April volumes at 18,470 metric tons (40.7 million pounds) for a January-April total of 58,334 metric tons (128.6 million pounds), up 142 percent from the first four months of last year. Russia recently resumed imports from Canada after banning them in April, then delisted several EU plants and later delisted four U.S. plants. Russia is currently the third-largest pork importer, following China/Hong Kong and Japan. Daley noted that U.S. prices are currently extremely competitive, even with Brazil, assisted by the weak dollar.
Exports to Canada are up 24 percent to 53,348 metric tons (117.6 million pounds).
Exports to South Korea are up 12 percent to 48,550 metric tons (107 million pounds).
Exports to the ASEAN are up 316 percent to 15,429 metric tons or 34 million pounds (Philippines: 8,963 metric tons, Vietnam: 3,238 metric tons, Singapore: 3,072 metric tons).
Exports to the EU are up 117 percent to 13,668 metric tons or 30.1 million pounds (France: 3,979 metric tons, Italy: 2,109 metric tons, Germany: 1,811 metric tons). As previously noted, U.S. export statistics overstate actual exports to the EU.
Exports to Central and South America are up four percent to 11,308 metric tons or 24.9 million pounds (Honduras: 4,024 metric tons, Guatemala: 2,247 metric tons, Colombia: 1,652 metric tons).
Exports to the Dominican Republic are up 320 percent to 4,312 metric tons (9.5 million pounds).
Exports to Taiwan and Australia are lagging last year by 18 and seven percent respectively. Exports to Australia and Taiwan increased significantly in April, but market access restrictions still limit exports to Taiwan.
Mexico holds the No. 1 position, with beef exports up 14 percent (67,263 metric tons or 148.2 million pounds), variety meat exports up 29 percent (62,802 metric tons or 138.4 million pounds) for a combined increase of 21 percent to 130,065 metric tons (286.7 million pounds) for January-April valued at $439 million.
Exports (not including variety meat) to Canada are up 53 percent to 40,906 metric tons (90.1 million pounds), a 58 percent in value to $203.7 million. “They should continue to increase through June, following last year’s trend and remain over 12,000 metric tons (26.4 million pounds) per month for the remainder of the year,” said Daley.
Japan’s beef imports (including variety meat) from the United States are up 48 percent to 15,916 metric tons or 35 million pounds (up 62 percent in value to $85 million), with April exports totaling 5,655 metric tons (12.4 million pounds). Monthly exports should remain over 5,000 metric tons (11 million pounds) through August due to increased availability of beef from cattle less than 21 months of age.
The ASEAN region, led by Vietnam, took 395 percent more beef with exports totaling 13,734 metric tons (30.2 million pounds).
Exports to Taiwan increased 29 percent to 8,378 metric tons (18.4 million pounds).
Department of Commerce data shows exports to the EU are up 195 percent to 4,669 metric tons (10.2 million pounds). As previously noted, this data overstates actual exports to the EU. From EU high-quality-beef quota usage, USMEF estimates that beef exports will reach 4,000 metric tons (8.8 million pounds) for the current July-June GATT year.
Beef exports to the Caribbean (including variety meat) increased 5.6 percent to 3,585 metric tons or 7.9 million pounds (excluding the DR).
Exports to the Middle East increased 5 percent to 2,789 metric tons (6.1 million pounds) while variety meat exports were down nine percent to 26,271 metric tons (57.9 million pounds). The UAE is the largest beef market, while Egypt is the largest variety meat market in the region. Although the volume of livers to Egypt is down 10 percent, the value of exports is up 11 percent, indicating competition for livers as exports to Russia slowly recover (totaling 3,549 metric tons or 7.8 million pounds for January-April). The other growth markets for variety meats are Peru (mainly livers, up 150 percent to 1,587 metric tons or 3.4 million pounds) and the Philippines, which is up from 112 metric tons (246,915 pounds) last year to 1,376 metric tons (3 million pounds) for January-April 2008.
Exports to Russia are likely underreported by the Department of Commerce. PIERS data shows 3,372 metric tons (7.4 million pounds) of frozen beef to Russia during January-April. This volume exceeds total annual beef exports to Russia during 2003. Like pork, U.S. beef (especially round cuts) is competitively priced with Brazilian, Australian and Uruguayan beef in the Russian market.
Beef exports (excluding variety meat) were lower to Hong Kong (down four percent to 3,080 metric tons or 6.7 million pounds) and Central/South America (down 17 percent to 883 metric tons or 1.9 million pounds) for January-April
The importation of Canadian cattle into the United States was up 31.5 percent through May (with a 68 percent increase in feeder cattle imports more than offsetting an 11 percent drop in slaughter steer and heifer imports), according to Daley. Imports of live Canadian hogs were up 14 percent (with feeder imports up 19 percent, slaughter up 4.5 percent) through May.
Live animals imported prior to mid-July can be declared as U.S. origin under the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements, which will come into effect at the end of this year. U.S. imports of Mexican feeder cattle are down 31 percent compared to January-May last year.
USDA’s WASDE (World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates) report released June 10 reflects tight supplies of corn, with projected 2008/09 production down 10 percent compared to the 2007/08 marketing year, feed use down 15 percent, and ending stocks at 673 million bushels, the lowest level since 1995/96.
At the same time, U.S. beef production is expected to be up 1.5 percent compared to last year (with continued strong cow slaughter) and exports up just 15 percent over last year. Per capita beef supplies are estimated at 64.5 pounds per capita during 2008 and 62.7 pounds per capita in 2009 (down from 65.2 pounds per capita in 2007).
The pork exports estimate for 2008 was reduced slightly, but exports are still expected to be 36 percent higher than last year. Pork production estimates for 2008 and 2009 also were reduced slightly, reflecting lower live imports from Canada and lower U.S. production in response to high grain prices. Per capita pork supplies are expected to decline by about one pound per capita, from an estimated 50.7 pounds in 2008 to 49.6 pounds per capita in 2009.