Slow Demand Challenges U.S. Pork Exports

Slow Demand Challenges U.S. Pork Exports

Sluggish spending in some export markets dampens pork export outlook

February continued the trend set at the end of 2012 for U.S. meat exports with a continued slight decline for pork, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

February pork exports slipped 5% in volume (178,510 mt) and 6% in value ($494.6 million) compared to a year ago.

Lower results in Mexico, Japan slow pork exports

Pork exports through February totaled 365,191 mt valued at just under $1.02 billion – down 8% in volume and 7% in value from a year ago. Pork export value in February averaged $57.56 per head, down slightly from last year's $58.17. January-February export value averaged $54.89, down 6% from a year ago.

Sluggish spending in some export markets dampens pork export outlook

Pork exports in February equated to 22% of muscle cut production and 27.9% when adding variety meats. This compares to 24% and 27.7%, respectively, in February 2012.

Pork exports to leading volume market Mexico slowed from the record pace established in 2012, declining 13% in volume (98,237 mt) and 12% in value ($183.5 million) through February. Value leader Japan also saw lower results, falling 11% in volume (71,248 mt) and 6% in value ($320.1 million).

Exports to the China/Hong Kong region were relatively steady, falling 2% in volume (76,402 mt) but increasing 1% in value ($160.4 million). Exports to Canada were slightly ahead of last year's pace in both volume (37,339 mt, +2%) and value ($130.6 million, +1%).

Markets performing well above year-ago levels through February included:

•Philippines, 7,851 mt (+42%) valued at $18.3 million (32%).

•Colombia, 3,598 mt (+62%) valued at $9.2 million (+51%).

•Honduras, 3,559 mt (+17%) valued at $8.7 million (+24%).

•Dominican Republic, 2,448 mt (+28%) valued at $5.7 million (+44%).

•New Zealand, 1,780 mt (+76%) valued at $5.1 million (+57%).

The impact of Russia's ractopamine restrictions caused February exports to fall 15% in volume (7,037 mt) and 16% in value ($21.1 million). Demand in South Korea continues to be hampered by sluggish consumer spending and a surge in domestic meat production, as exports through February fell 30% in volume (25,540 mt) and 32% in value ($70.7 million) compared to a year ago.

Lamb export value up, despite lower volume

U.S. lamb exports continued to trend lower in volume through February (1,885 mt, -20%) but were 15% higher in value ($4.4 million) compared to last year. Exports to leading market Mexico gained 37% in value ($2.6 million) despite a 3% decline in volume (1,558 mt).

Complete export results for U.S. pork and lamb, as well as beef, are available online.

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