In January, U.S. beef exports continued the trend shown in 2012 with higher export value on lower volume, while pork exports improved slightly from December 2012’s levels, but remained behind year-over-year, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and complied by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Monthly beef exports totaled 86,608 metric tons, a 3.2 percent decrease year-over-year. The volume was valued at $443.8 million, a 9.3 percent increase compared with January 2012.
Canada was the top volume and value market for U.S. beef exports in January, buying 16,586 metric tons, valued at $102.9 million. Hong Kong’s U.S. beef purchases rose 144 percent in volume and 115 percent in value to 7,004 metric tons valued at $37.1 million.
Pork exports in January totaled 186,681 metric tons, dropping 11.7 percent from the same month in the previous year. The volume was valued at $523.7 million, falling 7.6 percent.
Japan remained the top value leader of U.S. pork exports, buying 37,745 metric tons valued at $173.6 million. Mexico continued to be the volume leader, purchasing 55,103 metric tons valued at $102.7 million. Russia posted the largest pork export gains at 3,314 metric tons, a 8.2 percent volume increase, valued at $10.2 million, a 9.7 percent value increase, although the report noted that some of the purchases may have been made in anticipation of Russia closing its border to U.S. pork and beef in February.
Exports of U.S. lamb in January were also mixed, up 16.6 percent in value year-over-year, but down 28.2 percent in volume. Totals for the month were 984 metric tons valued at $2.4 million. Mexico remained the top export destination in terms of volume and value.
“Looking ahead, USMEF is focusing on building demand for chilled and branded pork in both Japan and Korea, as well as overall consumer demand for pork in Mexico,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO, in a written statement.