The volume of U.S. beef exports in March was 83,612 metric tons, down 7 percent year-over-year, but export value was $440.7 million, slightly higher compared with the value in March 2012, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Beef exports finished the first quarter 4 percent lower in volume year-over-year, at 256,587 metric tons, but 5 percent ahead of last year’s record pace in value, at $1.3 billion.
March pork exports declined 18 percent from a year ago in both volume, at 163,004 metric tons, and value, at $469.5 million, driven by a market closure in Russia, larger domestic supplies in China and South Korea and weakened demand in Japan and Mexico. For the first quarter, pork exports fell 12 percent below last year’s record pace in volume and dropped 11 percent in value.
“Some of these trends are anticipated, such as the lower demand for exports where domestic production is up and inventories are plentiful,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO, in a written statement. “But the trade impasse with Russia is very frustrating because we have lost access to a market where demand for our product is extremely strong.”
“In other destinations, we have seen the overall demand for high-quality proteins become sluggish, and USMEF is very focused on reversing this trend,” Seng added.