Producer Resources

October Another Stellar Month for U.S. Pork, Beef Exports

USAgNet - December 07, 2017

U.S. pork exports remained ahead of last year's record volume pace, and beef exports are poised to break $7 billion this year for only the second time, according to October export results released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

October pork exports were the largest since May, totaling 211,592 metric tons (mt), up 5 percent from a year ago, valued at $565.4 million, up 8 percent. Through the first 10 months of the year, pork exports increased 8 percent in volume (2.005 million mt) and 10 percent in value ($5.28 billion) from the same period last year.

Exports accounted for 25.4 percent of total pork production in October (steady with last year) and 21.6 percent for muscle cuts only (up slightly from a year ago). For January through October, these ratios increased about one percentage point from a year ago to 26.4 percent of total production and 22 percent for muscle cuts. October export value averaged $51.41 per head slaughtered, up 9 percent from a year ago and the highest since July. Through the first 10 months of the year, per-head export value was $52.64, up 7 percent.

Beef exports reached 111,287 mt in October, up 5 percent from a year ago, valued at $662 million, up 18 percent. These were the second-largest monthly totals of 2017, trailing only August. For January through October, exports totaled 1.038 million mt, up 9 percent year-over-year, valued at $5.93 billion -- up 16 percent from a year ago and slightly ahead of the record value pace established in 2014.

Beef exports accounted for 13 percent of total production in October, the highest since July but down from 13.9 percent last year. The percentage of muscle cuts exported was steady with last year at 10.7 percent. For January through October, beef exports accounted for 12.8 percent of total production (down from 13.3 percent last year) and 10.2 percent for muscle cuts (steady with last year).

October beef export value averaged $301.88 per head of fed slaughter, up 12 percent from a year ago and the highest since December 2016. January-October export value averaged $279.85 per head, up 10 percent.

Following a modest slowdown in September, pork exports to leading volume market Mexico regained momentum at 69,529 mt, up 7 percent from a year ago, valued at $129.8 million (up 13 percent). Through October, exports to Mexico are well-positioned for a sixth consecutive annual volume record at 655,527 mt (up 14 percent) valued at $1.24 billion (up 17 percent).

Mexico is an especially important destination for U.S. hams, and consumption growth in Mexico has been critically supportive of ham prices in this time of record U.S. pork production, explained USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom.

October exports of U.S. lamb were 560 mt, down 7 percent from a year ago, and value slipped 6 percent to $1.32 million. For the first 10 months of the year, exports declined 14 percent in volume (6,139 mt) but increased 8 percent in value to just under $16 million. The volume decline is due to slow demand for lamb variety meat, as muscle cut exports through October were up 15 percent in volume (1,913 mt) and 20 percent in value ($11.38 million). Muscle cut exports have increased year-over-year to leading markets Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada, while also showing promising growth in Central America and Taiwan.

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