Statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) show February results for U.S. pork and beef exports well above levels from this time last year, with pork exports posting the strongest February volume on record.
Pork exports were up 15 percent year-over-year, with value up 17 percent. February exports accounted for 27.6 percent of total pork production and 22.9 percent for muscle cuts only, and export value per hog slaughtered averaged $51.94 in February, up 18 percent year-over-year.
Beef exports were up 9 percent year-over-year, with value up 16 percent. February exports accounted for 12.6 percent of total beef production and 10.1 percent for muscle cuts only, and export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $276.96 in February, up 13 percent from a year ago.
“With trade deficits being a hot topic of conversation, especially with countries such as Mexico, China and Japan, it’s important to highlight the sectors in which U.S. products are competitive throughout the world and exports are thriving,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “The red meat sector is certainly in that category, as exports have helped fuel growth in the U.S. industry and, in turn, larger U.S. production has opened further export opportunities and generated positive returns for the entire supply chain.”
Mexico was once again the pacesetter for February pork exports, with volume up 22 percent to and value increasing 28 percent. Mexico’s strong demand is reflected not only in increased buying from the U.S., but also in relatively high domestic hog prices, as per capita consumption of pork continues to grow.
Japan has continued to solidify its position as the leading volume and value market for U.S. beef, with February exports climbing 48 percent from a year ago in volume and 55 percent in value. Japanese import data shows that U.S. beef overtook Australian beef in the first two months of the year, with U.S. market share climbing to 45.6 percent while Australia’s dropped to 44 percent.
Complete export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics Web page.
Monthly charts for U.S. pork and beef exports are also available online.