Higher prices commanded in the global market have driven up per-head export values for both U.S. beef and pork, as international customers have, so far, been willing to pay higher prices for larger volumes.

For the month of April, total U.S. pork exports (muscle cuts plus variety meat) rose 11 percent over year-ago levels in volume to 192,924 metric tons (t) valued at $596 million, a 26 percent increase. For the first four months of 2014, pork exports are up 11 percent in volume to 776,601 t valued at $2.25 billion, a 14 percent rise.

The U.S. exported 99,297 t of beef in April valued at $537.4 million, increases of 15 and 24 percent, respectively. Year-to-date, beef exports are up 10 percent in volume and 17 percent in value to 376,377 t valued at $2.05 billion.

"Even with a plentiful supply of EU pork products in the marketplace and large volumes of Australian beef, we are still seeing demand grow in most of our key markets and remain steady in others," said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. "It is encouraging to see solid growth in sales to markets where the U.S. industry has made the biggest commitment in resources. A good example would be Korea, where export volumes have struggled since 2012 but, as Korea’s domestic supply levels of beef and pork normalize, we are seeing a robust rebound in demand for U.S. products."

Beef notes
Beef exports in April accounted for 14 percent of total U.S. beef production and 11 percent of muscle cuts alone, increases from 12 and 9 percent, respectively, last April. Export value per head of fed slaughter equated to $262.41 for the month, up from $207.70 a year ago. Strong beef exports to Asia helped support near-record prices for short plates, short ribs and chuck short ribs.


Beef export markets of note in April included:

Mexico: volume up 16 percent to 18,668 t valued at $86 million, a 31 percent increase over April of 2013, although off March highs, contributed to sustained high prices for U.S. rounds and shoulder clods.

Japan: the top destination for U.S. beef in April took 20,614 t, down 4 percent but valued at $130.6 million, even with last year.

Hong Kong: continues its rapid growth with volume up 99 percent (11,419 t) and value up 133 percent ($82.2 million).

South Korea: volume up 27 percent to 8,630 t and value up 53 percent to $56.6 million.

Central/South America: volume up 11 percent to 3,915 t and value up 40 percent to $16 million – paced by Chile (up 52 percent in volume to 1,449 t and 50 percent in value to $7.3 million).

ASEAN: volume up 71 percent to 2,628 t and value up 29 percent to $11.6 million, with growth to the Philippines (up 55 percent in volume to 1,604 t valued at $6.9 million, a 32 percent increase) helping fuel the increases.  end mark