The U.S. Meat Export Federation believes if the trend established in the first six months of the year holds up U.S. beef and pork exports are likely to set several new records in 2011. Each could eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever. According to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF, June beef exports achieved the second-highest value ever at $461.8 million. This was 23% higher than June 2010. Meanwhile, June pork exports were slightly higher in volume than last year with a 6% higher value of $451.2 million.
For the first half of this year, beef exports equated to 13.8% of total production with an export value of $192.42 per head of fed slaughter. The United States has also recaptured its position as the world's leading beef exporter outpacing Australia and Brazil. Meanwhile, first-half pork exports reached 1.08 million metric tons and were valued at $2.81 billion, year-over-year increases of 14% and 19% respectively.
USMEF reports that tremendous June results in Mexico and Canada firmly established their positions as the number one and number two markets for U.S. beef. Demand for U.S. beef in Mexico continues to rebound, as exports through June were 8% higher in volume and 25% higher in value than in 2010. Canada was the value pacesetter in June with exports topping $96.6 million, a new monthly record. Cumulatively through June exports to Canada were 23% higher than last year in terms of volume and 44% higher in value.
Exports to Japan continue to improve with their highest monthly volume since 2003. Other key Asian markets for U.S. beef have cooled somewhat from the red-hot pace set earlier this year but the results remain very encouraging.
U.S. pork exports to Korea experienced a 145% increase in volume over the first half of last year and nearly triple the value. And pork exports to Japan have increased another 10% in volume and 13% in value through the first half of this year. Exports to Canada have grown at a similar pace achieving a 10% increase in volume and 12% growth in value. Mexico, the largest volume destination for U.S. pork, saw exports fall by 3% in volume and held steady in value compared to last year.
According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, U.S. lamb exports grew by 59% in volume and 31% in value in the first half of 2011. Exports to the mainstay markets of Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean led the way, with strong growth also in Costa Rica, Guatemala and the United Arab Emirates.