U.S. red meat exports in September posted strong value gains, according to USDA statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
With September figures, both U.S. beef and U.S. pork exports broke the $5 billion mark for the first three quarters of the year, USMEF said.
September beef exports increased 6% from a year ago in volume to 100,068 metric tons, and soared 25% in value to $631.9 million. For January through September, exports were up 3% in volume.
Pork export value was up 7% in September to $513 million, despite a 3% decline in volume. Exports through the first nine months of the year maintained a record pace in both volume and value, posting increases of 5% and 14%, respectively, from a year ago.
The results are "impressive," says USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng, especially because of a strong U.S. dollar and decline in U.S. beef production. September was also the first full month dealing with Russia's import ban.
"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," Seng said.
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 and 7% higher in value.
Also from January to September, exports to Hong Kong were up 26% in volume and 45% in value; Export volume to South Korea was up 12% to 84,873 mt, while value soared 41% to $590.5 million; and Exports to Mexico totaled 178,812 mt (up 19%), valued at $860.8 million (up 34%).
The summer surge in exports to Taiwan moderated in September, but the market remains on a record pace in both volume and value.
Pork export value per head slaughtered was $58.10 in September and $64.48 for January through September. 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 valued at $138.4 million.
For the first nine months of the year, exports to Mexico maintained a record pace of 503,614 mt valued at $1.16 billion.
Exports to South Korea were up 37% in volume and 56% in value for September; 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 and 80% in value. 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, export value was 1% higher at $1.39 billion.