U.S. red meat exports were “solid” in November as beef sales set a new value record and pork exports posted their strongest month year-to-date, according to statistics released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
U.S. beef exports jumped 11 percent in volume in November, reaching 101,341 metric tons, while the value of beef exports rose 16 percent to $524.5 million. The gains were driven by continued export growth to Japan and Hong Kong, as well as the ongoing rebound of the Mexican market, USMEF said. From January through November, U.S. beef exports rose 3 percent in volume and 11 percent in value.
Monthly exports to Japan, the top volume and value market for U.S. beef, surged 74 percent year-over-year in volume to 17,135 metric tons and 41 percent in value to $101.2 million. Year-to-date, U.S. beef exports to Japan totaled 219,081 metric tons, up 52 percent, valued at $1.3 billion, up 34 percent.
Exports to Mexico, the No. 2 volume market for U.S. beef, totaled 20,114 metric tons in November, improving 62 percent, valued at $82.9 million, increasing more than 50 percent. In the first 11 months of 2013, U.S. beef exports to Mexico reached 191,984 metric tons valued at $819.9 million. Both volume and value were up 8 percent versus the same period last year.
Notably, U.S. beef exports to Hong Kong, the sixth largest market for U.S. beef, equaled 15,185 metric tons in November, spiking 112 percent versus November 2012, valued at $98.1 million, jumping 163 percent. Furthermore, U.S. beef exports to countries under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were up 22 percent in volume and 20 percent in value, led by a recovery of exports to Indonesia.
“We continue to see benefits from expanded market access for beef in Japan and Hong Kong,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, in a written statement. “At the same time, the lack of access for U.S. beef to mainland China and the closure of the Russian market for both pork and beef — which is approaching a year in duration — are significant barriers.”
China banned U.S. beef in December 2003, after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as “mad cow disease,” was discovered in a cow in Washington state. The U.S. is in the process of realigning its mad cow disease regulations with global standards.
Meanwhile, U.S. pork exports in November totaled 192,657 metric tons, down 4 percent compared with the same period last year. The value of pork exports also slid, falling 3 percent to $550.7 million. The declines resulted from impediments for U.S. pork exports to China and Japan, as well drought impacts, which led to smaller cattle numbers in the U.S. and a contrasting surge in Australia’s 2013 production. However, the drops were partially offset by growth to Mexico and the Central and South America region, which registered the highest totals for the year.
From January through November, U.S. pork exports declined 6 percent in volume and 5 percent in value.
Mexico remained the top volume market for U.S. pork in 2013, with volume up 2 percent to 560,657 metric tons year-to-date and value up 6 percent to $1.1 million. However, Japan was the No. 1 value market at $1.8 billion, a 6 percent decline year-over-year, with volume down 8 percent to 390,388 metric tons.
Notably, in the first 11 months of 2013, U.S. pork exports to Central and South America were up 34 percent in volume and 35 percent in value, driven by significant increases in exports to Colombia, Chile and Honduras, which rose 82 percent, 46 percent and 11 percent respectively in terms of volume. Exports to ASEAN were up 38 percent in volume and 34 percent in value in the year-to-date period.