The outlook for U.S. livestock producers has received a big boost from meat sales in overseas markets of both pork and beef in recent months.
June pork exports were double the volume of last year's June exports. The 192,667 metric tons valued at $451 million pushed the six month total of 2008 to 1,018,467 metric tons valued at $2.3 billion, which is 67% more than 2007 in terms of volume and 58% more in terms of value. China and Russia had the most growth as far as imports of U.S. pork but Mexico, Japan and Korea also saw an increase in imports.
"A significant rise in pork values has been led by strong prices for export items such as trimmings, hams and picnics," said Erin Daley, manager of research and analysis for the U.S. Meat Export Federation. "The rise in prices for these items indicates continued strong export demand into August."
The top export markets for U.S. beef continue to be Mexico and Canada, although rebuilding of market share in Japan continues and a major breakthrough was made with the resumption of exports to South Korea. Japan and South Korea were first and third respectively in terms of the largest markets of U.S. beef prior to the 2003 BSE case in the U.S. and the subsequent ban.
Daley said that while this year's beef exports won't be able to match the peak levels achieved earlier in this decade, the beef industry is getting close to reaching the same level of value. While beef exports exceeded $3.8 billion in 2003, she forecasts that assuming no major disruptions of trade this year's exports could total as high as $3.5 billion.
To view complete beef and pork export statistics, click HERE.