Slow Demand Challenges U.S. Pork Exports

Sluggish spending in some export markets dampens pork export outlook

Published on: Apr 9, 2013

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
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.