U.S. pork exports grew handsomely in August year over year, increasing 22% in volume to 221,586 metric tons and 19% in value to $588.8 million, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
But beef exports missed the mark, declining 4% from last year’s large volumes to 114,119 metric tons and 8% in value to $690.3 million.
Year-over-year changes January through August were more subdued, with pork exports up 4% in volume and 1% in value. Beef exports were down 2% in volume and 1% in value compared with last year’s record pace.
For the first eight months of the year, pork exports accounted for 26.4% of U.S. pork production and $51.70 per head of U.S. hog slaughter, USMEF reported this week.
Beef exports during the same period accounted for 14.2% of U.S. beef production and $309.85 per head of U.S. fed slaughter.
China/Hong Kong were the largest destinations for U.S. pork in August despite China’s retaliatory tariffs. Pork shipment to China more than tripled in volume year over year to 63,656 metric tons and were up 160% in value to $137.6 million.
Pork exports to Mexico have rebounded significantly since that country removed its tariffs on U.S pork but are still trailing record-large numbers in 2017, USMEF reported.
Pork shipments to Mexico in August were down 1% in volume to 61,365 metric tons, but value increased 18% to $121.1 million.
“China’s demand for imported pork has increased steadily over the past few months, and the U.S. industry is well-positioned to help fill the need, “Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO, said in the report.
“But the really positive story behind these numbers is that even as U.S. exports to China/Hong Kong have surged and exports to Mexico rebounded after the removal of retaliatory duties, demand in other markets is proving resilient and continues to grow,” he said.
On the beef side, the U.S. industry looks forward to gaining tariff relief in Japan — its top foreign market — through the recently announced U.S.-Japan trade agreement. August beef exports to Japan were down 15% in volume to 28,646 metric tons and 22% in value to $164.3 million. January through August, they were down 3% in volume and 4% in value
U.S. beef exports to South Korea were also down in August, slipping 9% in volume year over year to 22,307 metric tons and 11% in value to $157.4 million. For the first eight months of the year, however, shipments were 8% ahead of last year’s record pace in volume and 10% higher in value.
“The U.S. beef industry is extremely excited at the prospect of lower tariffs in Japan, as 38.5% is the highest rate assessed in any major market,” Halstrom said.
“As we’ve seen in Korea, where the tariff rate was once 40% but has been reduced by more than half, lower tariffs make U.S. beef even more affordable for a wider range of customers,” he said.
For more on meat exports, go to: www.usmef.org .