The volume of U.S. beef exports in May was 97,820 metric tons, rising 3 percent year-over-year, and export value was $513.6 million, increasing 9 percent compared with the value in May 2012, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
From January to May, beef exports were up 3 percent in value at $2.26 billion, despite a 3 percent dip in volume to 440,840 metric tons.
May pork exports declined year-over-year in volume, down 3.3 percent to 180,637 metric tons, as well as in value, dropping 3.6 percent to $505.4 million. In the first five months of 2013, pork exports fell 9 percent in volume compared with the same period last year to 882,905 metric tons, and decreased 8 percent in value to $2.47 billion.
The inability of the U.S. to ship beef and pork to Russia — which closed its market on Feb. 11 — continued to negatively impact U.S. red meat exports, according to USMEF. The trade impasse results from Russia’s policy against beta agonist use.
“The loss of a key market like Russia ripples through the red meat industry,” said Philip Seng, USMEF’s president and CEO, in a written statement. “The absence of one of the largest meat purchasers in the world affects the volume of product sold and, more importantly, the price that other customers need to pay for it in a competitive marketplace.”
Excluding Russia, U.S. beef export volume for May increased 12 percent year-over-year, and export volume for the first five months of 2013 rose 3.5 percent. Similarly, May pork exports increased 3.5 percent in volume over last year’s totals if Russia is excluded, and from January to May, export volume would be down 5.8 percent, instead of 9 percent.
However, U.S. beef exports to Japan in May jumped 74 percent year-over-year in volume to 28,122 metric tons. Monthly beef exports also rose to Hong Kong, by 56 percent to 7,182 metric tons, and Taiwan’s totals improved from 282 metric tons last year to 2,720 metric tons.
USMEF said that beef exports remained “steady to higher” for Canada, Egypt, Central and South America and the Caribbean this May, but remained “challenged” for Mexico, South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand).
Through May, Japan was the leading destination for U.S. beef, with exports up 56 percent compared with the same period last year. It accounted for 20 percent of all U.S. beef exports by volume and 24 percent of export value. Mexico was the No. 2 destination in volume, but Canada was second in value.