"At the same time, we continue relationship-building in Russia for when that market reopens, and stand ready to capitalize on the growing demand for high-quality beef in China when access can be restored for the first time since 2003."
Last June, 5,903 metric tons of beef were exported to Russia, making it the no. 6 market for U.S. beef.
Pork exports to Mexico increased 20% in June, pushing the first-half total nearly even with last year's record pace. Other top pork export growth markets in June (by volume) were Japan (+4%), China/Hong Kong (+15%), Central/South America (+54%; mainly to Colombia, Honduras and Chile), the ASEAN (+26%; mainly to the Philippines), Caribbean (+36%; mainly to the Dominican Republic) and Taiwan (+67%).
"The rebound in Mexico is particularly gratifying," said Seng. "An abundance of domestic pork in Mexico affected demand in the first quarter and the Russia closure had a negative impact on the prices paid for hams and other cuts sold to processors in Mexico. But we are focusing on this market with a pork imaging campaign that is getting positive reviews from importers and consumers alike."
Strong buying from Mexico likely helped propel heavy hams to over 90 cents per pound by early June, a 22% increase compared to last year's prices. But access to Russia will become increasingly critical as we move into seasonally larger pork production, USMEF said.
For the year, U.S. beef exports are down 1% in volume at 542,560 metric tons but 6% higher in value at $2.83 billion. Total beef exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) accounted for 13.6% of U.S. beef production in June, up from 12% last year. For the year they account for 12.4% of production, about the same as last year.
June beef muscle cut exports accounted for 11% of production (up from 10% in June 2012). For the first half of the year, exports accounted for 9.6% of beef muscle cut production, about the same as last year.
Pork exports for the first half of 2013 are down 7% in volume and value to 1.05 million metric tons valued at $2.94 billion. Total pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) accounted for 28% of total U.S. pork production in June versus 26% last year. For the year they equate to 26% of production versus 28% in 2012.
June pork muscle cut exports accounted for 24% of production up from 23% in June 2012. For the first half, exports accounted for 21.7% of muscle cut production, down from 24% last year.