Paced by strong performances from leading markets, both U.S. beef and pork exports continued their upward trend in July, with beef sales setting new highs for the year, while lamb exports slowed slightly for the month but remain up for the year, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Double-digit increases to the top three markets (Japan, Mexico and Canada) helped U.S. beef exports jump 9% in volume in July to 118,913 metric tons valued at $622.8 million, a 21% increase over last year. For the year, beef exports are up a fraction in volume (661,473 metric tons) and 9% in value to $3.45 billion.
Strong performances by Mexico, the China/Hong Kong region and Central/South America boosted pork exports by 8.5% in volume in July to 178,794 metric tons valued at $502.6 million, a 7.5 increase over 2012. Through July, pork exports were down 5% in volume and value, at 1.23 million metric tons and $3.44 billion. Excluding Russia, which has been closed to U.S. pork and beef since February, exports were down just 1% from last year's record pace.
Lamb exports dipped a modest 3.2% in July on 15.7% lower volumes, but remain up by double digits for the year.
Beef Growth in Asia
"On the beef side, we are seeing the results of further rationalization of import practices in a number of key Asian markets," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. "Expanded access in Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan has helped each of these key markets move closer to their full potential, and we are focusing our resources there to maximize opportunities to serve the growing demand in the region."
As Seng noted, for the first seven months of 2013, beef exports are up dramatically to these three key markets:
• Japan: up 57% in volume and 43% in value (142,875 metric tons valued at $855.8 million)
• Hong Kong: up 102% in volume and 128% in value (60,159 metric tons valued at $368.4 million)
• Taiwan: up 158% in volume and 222% in value (17,434 metric tons valued at $139.6 million)
Other top-performing markets for beef exports include Mexico and Central/South America.