U.S. red meat exports continued to build momentum in November, highlighted by a new monthly volume record for pork exports. Both pork and beef exports exceeded year-ago levels by more than 20 percent in both volume and value, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
November pork exports totaled 225,757 metric tons (mt), up 24 percent year-over-year and breaking the previous record (218,132 mt) set in October 2012. Export value was $586.8 million, up 30 percent from a year ago and the highest since May 2014. For January through November, pork export volume was up 7 percent from a year ago to 2.09 million mt, while export value increased 5 percent to $5.38 billion.
Even with U.S. pork production reaching record levels, exports are accounting for a larger share. November export volume equated to 28 percent of total production and 23 percent for muscle cuts only – substantial increases over the November 2015 ratios of 24 percent and 21 percent. For January through November, exports accounted for 25.5 percent of total production and 21.4 percent for muscle cuts – up from 24.2 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively, in 2015. November export value averaged $55.09 per head slaughtered, up 19 percent year-over-year. The January-November average was $49.63 per head, up 2 percent.
November was also a very strong month for beef exports, which totaled 155,335 mt – up 20 percent year-over-year and the largest since July 2013. Export value increased 21 percent to $619.1 million, the highest since December 2014. This pushed January-November export volume to 1.07 million mt (up 10 percent year-over-year) valued at $5.72 billion (down 1 percent).
November exports accounted for nearly 15 percent of total beef production and 11.7 percent for muscle cuts only – the highest levels since 2014. January-November exports accounted for 13.5 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively – up from 13 percent and 10 percent during the same period in 2015. Beef export value per head of fed slaughter reached a 2016 high of $294.39 in November, up 5 percent from a year ago. For January through November, per-head export value averaged $258.48, down 7 percent.
“With recent increases in both pork and beef production, the U.S. industry faces a significant challenge in terms of moving these larger supplies,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “But with aggressive and well-targeted international marketing efforts, this also presents an outstanding opportunity to grow our market share in established export destinations and cultivate new opportunities in emerging markets. U.S. exports are achieving success on both fronts, and USMEF is committed to keeping this strong momentum going in the New Year.”
Mexico a powerful pacesetter, but positive results across the board for U.S. pork
Demand for U.S. pork gained further momentum in Mexico in November, where a fifth consecutive record year for export volume is now within reach. November exports totaled 73,984 mt, up 21 percent year-over-year and pushing January-November volume (649,992 mt) nearly even with the record pace of 2015. Export value was up 32 percent in November ($139.2 million) and January-November export value increased 4 percent to $1.19 billion.
Though still lower year-over-year, pork exports to leading value market Japan continued to strengthen in November, increasing 24 percent from a year ago in volume (37,317 mt) and 35 percent in value ($153.4 million, the highest since April 2015). Through November, export volume to Japan was down 5 percent to 357,808 mt, while export value ($1.44 billion) pulled within 1 percent of the previous year’s pace. 2016 will be a record year for chilled pork exports to Japan, which were up 10 percent through November to 201,828 mt.