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September a solid month for U.S. meat exports

September being another strong month for red meat export value, both U.S. beef and U.S. pork exports broke the $5 billion dollar mark for the first three quarters of the year, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

September beef exports increased 6% from a year ago in volume to 100,068 metric tons (mt), and soared 25% in value to $631.9 million. For January through September, exports were up 3% in volume (890,276 mt) and 15% in value ($5.18 billion).

Pork export value was up 7% in September to $513 million, despite a 3% decline in volume (162,125 mt). Exports through the first nine months of the year maintained a record pace in both volume (1.64 million mt) and value ($5.05 billion), increases of 5% and 14%, respectively, from a year ago.

“These are impressive results, especially given the headwinds we faced in September – including a very strong U.S. dollar, a significant decline in beef production and our first full month of dealing with Russia’s retaliatory import ban,” said Philip Seng, USMEF President and CEO. “It was just three years ago that U.S. pork and beef exports eclipsed the $5 billion mark for the first time in an entire calendar year, so it’s very gratifying to see our industry reach these mileposts by the end of the third quarter.”


Beef exports surge despite lower slaughter numbers

With herd rebuilding gaining traction in the U.S. beef industry, fed slaughter numbers have trended lower. September export value reached $313.67 per head of fed slaughter — down from the record set in August, but 26% higher than a year ago. For January through September, per-head export value was $283.29 — up nearly $40 from the same period last year. Exports equated to 14% of total beef production and 11% for muscle cuts only — up from 13% and 10%, respectively, last year.

Leading market Japan was the pacesetter for September beef exports, with volume climbing 36% from a year ago to 23,195 mt and value up 55% to $155.7 million. For January through September, exports to Japan were steady in volume (184,293 mt) and 7% higher in value ($1.17 billion).

Other January-September beef export highlights include:

  • Exports to Hong Kong were up 26% in volume (106,423 mt) and 45% in value ($768.3 million).
  • Export volume to South Korea was up 12% to 84,873 mt, while value soared 41% to $590.5 million.
  • The summer surge in exports to Taiwan moderated in September, but the market remains on a record pace in both volume (25,445 mt, +9%) and value ($215.1 million, +16%).
  • Exports to Mexico totaled 178,812 mt (up 19%), valued at $860.8 million (up 34%). Though as USMEF has previously noted, data from early 2013 may have understated last year’s exports.


Pork exports to Mexico remain on record pace

Pork export value per head slaughtered was $58.10 in September (+10% from a year ago) and $64.48 for January through September (+20%). Exports accounted for 27% of total pork production and 23% for muscle cuts only — up from 26% and 22%, respectively, during the first nine months of 2013.

Mexico, which is the leading volume destination for U.S. pork, continued to perform very well in September — with exports totaling 58,929 mt (+17%) valued at $138.4 million (+35%). For the first nine months of the year, exports to Mexico maintained a record pace of 503,614 mt (+13%) valued at $1.16 billion (+36%).

Other January-September pork export highlights include:

  • Exports to South Korea were up 37% in volume (96,667 mt) and 56% in value ($304.5 million). Pork export value to Korea has already surpassed the 2013 year-end total by more than 10%.
  • The leading market for U.S. pork in the Central-South America region is Colombia, where exports were up 64% in volume (36,234 mt) and 80% in value ($101.3 million).
  • Although export value to Japan has slowed the past two months, it remains the leading value market for U.S. pork. While pork muscle cut exports to Japan were down 3% in volume (298,005 mt), export value was 1% higher at $1.39 billion.


September lamb exports maintain positive momentum

U.S. lamb exports achieved a year-over-year increase for the third consecutive month in September, up 10% in volume (844 mt) and 14% in value ($2.16 million). For January through September, exports were still 17% lower in volume (8,054 mt) and down 2% in value ($21.1 million). Exports to leading market Mexico edged higher for the year, increasing 4% in volume (6,726 mt) and 5% in value ($11.2 million) Exports also expanded to the Caribbean, Panama, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates, partially offsetting lower totals for Canada.

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