U.S. red meat sales turned in strong figures in November as beef values soared to record levels and pork exports posted their strongest month of 2013, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation
Driven by sustained export growth to Japan and Hong Kong and the continued rebound of the Mexican market, U.S. beef exports surged 11% in volume and 16% in value compared to November 2012, putting 11-month totals at nearly 1.1 million metric tons.
Export value reached $5.61 billion, an 11% increase over last year's pace and already ahead of the 2012 year-end total of $5.51 billion.
Pork exports also were bolstered by solid growth to Mexico and the Central/South America region, registering the highest totals for the year. Despite that, year-to-date U.S. pork exports continue to trail 2012's record numbers by 6% in volume, valued at $5.5 billion, a 5% decline.
"We continue to see benefits from expanded market access for beef in Japan and Hong Kong," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "At the same time, the lack of access for U.S. beef to Mainland China and the closure of the Russian market for both pork and beef – which is approaching a year in duration – are significant barriers."
Seng noted that other impediments for U.S. pork exports to both China and Japan have had an impact. Drought has had widespread ramifications, leading to smaller cattle numbers in the U.S. and a contrasting surge in Australia's 2013 production, also leading to record exports of Australian beef.
November beef exports
Beef exports accounted for 14.3% of total U.S. beef production and 11% of muscle cuts alone compared to 12 and 9%, respectively, in November of 2012.
The export value per head of fed slaughter in November jumped to $267.36, an increase of $51.41 over last year.
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The top-performing beef export markets in November were Japan, up 74% in volume and valued at $101.2 million; Mexico, up more than 62% in volume and valued at $82.9 million; Hong Kong, up 112% in volume and valued at $98.1 million; and the ASEAN region, up 22% in volume and valued at $14.1 million, led by a recovery of exports to Indonesia.
Japan is the top volume and value market for U.S. beef exports, totaling 219,081 mt (up 52%) valued at $1.3 billion (up 34%) for the year. Mexico is the No. 2 volume market for U.S. beef for the year, totaling 191,984 mt (up 8%) valued at $819.9 million (up 8%).
November pork exports
U.S. pork exports equated to 26% of total pork production and 22% of muscle cuts versus 26.8 and 23%, respectively, last year.
The export value per head was $57.07 for pork in November, an increase of $1.09 versus last year.
The top-performing export markets for U.S. pork for the month were Mexico, up 16% and valued at $124.3 million; Central/South America, up 58% and valued at $42.2 million; Hong Kong, up 35% in volume; ASEAN, up 25% in volume and valued at $12.4 million; and the Caribbean, up 18% and valued at $11.2 million.
Exports are on pace to set another annual record and Mexico remains the top volume market for U.S. pork, trailing only Japan in value
Japan, the No. 1 export market for U.S. pork, continued to trail 2012 levels, down 2% in volume and 7% in value for the month, with 11-month totals at 390,388 mt valued at $1.7 billion.
Based on Japanese import data, smaller volumes of frozen pork from the U.S. have not been fully offset by growth in chilled pork and ground seasoned pork.
Complete export results are available on the USMEF statistics webpage.