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September Results Solid for U.S. Beef, Pork Exports

Published: Nov 06, 2014

With September being another strong month for red meat export value, both U.S. beef and U.S. pork exports broke the $5 billion dollar mark for the first three quarters of the year, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

September beef exports increased 6 percent from a year ago in volume to 100,068 metric tons (mt), and soared 25 percent in value to $631.9 million. For January through September, exports were up 3 percent in volume (890,276 mt) and 15 percent in value ($5.18 billion).

Pork export value was up 7 percent in September to $513 million, despite a 3 percent decline in volume (162,125 mt). Exports through the first nine months of the year maintained a record pace in both volume (1.64 million mt) and value ($5.05 billion), increases of 5 percent and 14 percent, respectively, from a year ago.

“These are impressive results, especially given the headwinds we faced in September – including a very strong U.S. dollar, a significant decline in beef production and our first full month of dealing with Russia’s retaliatory import ban,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “It was just three years ago that U.S. pork and beef exports eclipsed the $5 billion mark for the first time in an entire calendar year, so it’s very gratifying to see our industry reach these mileposts by the end of the third quarter.”

Beef exports surge despite lower slaughter numbers

With herd rebuilding gaining traction in the U.S. beef industry, fed slaughter numbers have trended lower. September export value reached $313.67 per head of fed slaughter – down from the record set in August, but 26 percent higher than a year ago. For January through September, per-head export value was $283.29 – up nearly $40 from the same period last year. Exports equated to 14 percent of total beef production and 11 percent for muscle cuts only – up from 13 percent and 10 percent, respectively, last year.

Leading market Japan was the pacesetter for September beef exports, with volume climbing 36 percent from a year ago to 23,195 mt and value up 55 percent to $155.7 million. For January through September, exports to Japan were steady in volume (184,293 mt) and 7 percent higher in value ($1.17 billion).

Other January-September beef export highlights include:

  • Exports to Hong Kong were up 26 percent in volume (106,423 mt) and 45 percent in value ($768.3 million).
  • Export volume to South Korea was up 12 percent to 84,873 mt, while value soared 41 percent to $590.5 million.
  • The summer surge in exports to Taiwan moderated in September, but the market remains on a record pace in both volume (25,445 mt, +9 percent) and value ($215.1 million, +16 percent).
  • Exports to Mexico totaled 178,812 mt (up 19 percent), valued at $860.8 million (up 34 percent). Though as USMEF has previously noted, data from early 2013 may have understated last year’s exports.

Pork exports to Mexico remain on record pace

Pork export value per head slaughtered was $58.10 in September (+10 percent from a year ago) and $64.48 for January through September (+20 percent). Exports accounted for 27 percent of total pork production and 23 percent for muscle cuts only – up from 26 percent and 22 percent, respectively, during the first nine months of 2013.

Mexico, which is the leading volume destination for U.S. pork, continued to perform very well in September – with exports totaling 58,929 mt (+17 percent) valued at $138.4 million (+35 percent). For the first nine months of the year, exports to Mexico maintained a record pace of 503,614 mt (+13 percent) valued at $1.16 billion (+36 percent).

Other January-September pork export highlights include:

  • Exports to South Korea were up 37 percent in volume (96,667 mt) and 56 percent in value ($304.5 million). Pork export value to Korea has already surpassed the 2013 year-end total by more than 10 percent.
  • The leading market for U.S. pork in the Central-South America region is Colombia, where exports were up 64 percent in volume (36,234 mt) and 80 percent in value ($101.3 million).
  • Although export value to Japan has slowed the past two months, it remains the leading value market for U.S. pork. While pork muscle cut exports to Japan were down 3 percent in volume (298,005 mt), export value was 1 percent higher at $1.39 billion.

September lamb exports maintain positive momentum

U.S. lamb exports achieved a year-over-year increase for the third consecutive month in September, up 10 percent in volume (844 mt) and 14 percent in value ($2.16 million). For January through September, exports were still 17 percent lower in volume (8,054 mt) and down 2 percent in value ($21.1 million). Exports to leading market Mexico edged higher for the year, increasing 4 percent in volume (6,726 mt) and 5 percent in value ($11.2 million). Exports also expanded to the Caribbean, Panama, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates, partially offsetting lower totals for Canada.

Complete January-September export totals for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics webpage.

For more information, please contact Joe Schuele at or 303-226-7309.

Editor’s notes:

  • Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat unless otherwise noted.
  • One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.