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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