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U.S. pork exports record $7 billion

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. pork exports posted new volume and value records in 2019, reaching nearly $7 billion, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Topics: U.S.    PORK    EXPORT   

Exports of U.S. beef were below the previous year’s record levels, while lamb export volume was the second largest on record.

Pork exports soared to 282,145 metric tons (mt) in December, up 34% year-over-year and surpassing the previous high (set in November 2019) by 9%.

Export value was $760 million, up a remarkable 44% from a year ago and breaking the previous record (also from November 2019) by 7%.

These results pushed 2019 exports 10% above the previous year in volume (2.67 million mt) and 9% higher in value ($6.95 billion), breaking previous records for both volume (2.45 million mt in 2017) and value ($6.65 billion in 2014).

Pork export value per head slaughtered was $66.70 in December, nearly one-third higher than a year ago and the highest monthly average since 2014.

For 2019, per-head value averaged $53.51, up 4% year-over-year.

The percentage of pork production exported also set new records in December, as exports accounted for 32.1% of total pork production and 29.3% for muscle cuts only, up substantially from a year ago (26.1% and 23.6%, respectively).

In 2019, exports accounted for 26.9% of total pork production, up from 25.7% and the highest since 2012.

For muscle cuts only, the ratio was 23.6%, up from 22.5% in 2018.

December beef exports totaled 111,315 mt, down 1% from a year ago, valued at $682 million (down 3%).

2019 exports totaled 1.32 million mt, 2.5% below the previous year’s record volume.

After increasing by more than $1 billion in 2018, beef export value eased by 3% to $8.1 billion.

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter was $321.21 in December, down 9% from a year ago.

The 2019 average was $309.75, down 4%.

December exports accounted for 14.3% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts only, down from 15.5% and 12.6%, respectively, a year ago.

2019 exports accounted for 14.1% of total beef production and 11.4% for muscle cuts, down from the previous year’s record-high percentages (14.6% and 12.1%, respectively).

Following a record performance in November, China/Hong Kong’s demand for U.S.

pork climbed even higher in December at 110,876 mt more than quadruple the year-ago volume while value was nearly six times higher at $274.9 million.

For 2019, pork exports to China/Hong Kong were up 89% to 665,665 mt, valued at $1.45 billion (up 71%).

China/Hong Kong’s pork imports from all suppliers in 2019 reached a record 3.45 million mt, up 40% year-over-year, and accelerated into December after China’s hog prices peaked in November.

Pork exports to Mexico also closed 2019 on a high note as December volume reached 66,181 mt, up 10% from a year ago, and export value surged 46% to $137.6 million, the highest in two years.

Saddled by Mexico’s retaliatory duties for the first five months of the year, 2019 exports to Mexico were down 9% from a year ago in volume at 708,133 mt, but recovered to finish just 2% lower in value at $1.28 billion.

December pork exports to leading value market Japan trailed the previous year by 3% in volume at 29,323 mt, but value increased 3% to $121.6 million.

Full-year exports to Japan were down 6% from a year ago in both volume (369,891 mt) and value ($1.52 billion).

Much of this decline was ground seasoned pork, which fell by $86 million due to a wide tariff rate disadvantage compared to European and Canadian product.

Beginning Jan. 1, Japan’s tariff rates on U.S. pork and pork products were lowered to match those imposed on major competitors, with the rate for U.S. ground seasoned pork falling from 20 to 13.3%.


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