Beef, Pork Export Values Climb Despite Lower Volume

Despite losses in volume, the value of August beef and pork exports rose for the second straight month, and these values remain on a pace to close out the year at record levels.

USDA data compiled by the US Meat Export Federation, a non-profit organization financed by private and government funds, shows August beef and variety meat exports were down 3,088 tonnes in volume, or 2.93%, to 102,456 tonnes from 105,544 tonnes during the same month in 2013.

The value of those exports, however, was up $91.8 million, or 16.3%, to a new monthly record of $655.2 million from $563.3 million a year earlier.

For the year through August, beef plus variety meat exports were up 23,191 tonnes, or 3.02%, to 790,208 tonnes from 767,017 tonnes the previous year.  The value of these exports totaled $4.546 billion, up $535 million, or 13.3%, from $4.011 billion a year ago.




During August, the exported volume of pork plus variety meats was down 11,289 tonnes, or 6.48%, to 162,992 tonnes from 174,281 tonnes a year earlier.  The value of those exports, however, was up $28.8 million, or 5.74%, to $529.9 million from $501.1 million a year earlier.

For the first eight months of the year, pork export volume was up 77,346 tonnes, or 5.50%, to 1.48 million tonnes from 1.41 million.

The value of pork and variety meat exports for the first eight months of the year came to $4.53 billion, up $591.4 million, or 15.0%, from $3.94 billion in the 2013 period.




Beef export values were up in spite of a 10% decline in cattle slaughter during August, meaning a good portion of US record-high beef prices then was attributable to beef export demand.

The USMEF calculated export value per head of fed slaughter reached $326.94, up 29% from a year ago and shattering the previous record of $299.14 set in June.  The January through August, per-head export value was $279.48, up 15% from the same period last year.

Beef exports equaled 14% of total production and 11% for muscle cuts only – up from 13% and 10%, respectively, last year.




While August pork exports were impressive, the pace may have slowed as a result of a late-July peak in US prices and the effect of Russia’s import ban, which was imposed Aug. 7.  The USMEF said buyers appeared to pull back into a wait-and-see mode.

Pork’s export value per head of slaughter was $64.08 in August, up 22%, and $65.29 for January through August, up 21%.  Exports for the period accounted for 28% of total pork production and 23% for muscle cuts only – up from 26% and 22%, respectively, during the first eight months of 2013.

Russia’s import ban was imposed on pork muscle cuts from the US, Canada and the European Union in response to western sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of intervention in Ukraine’s internal fighting.  U.S. pork exports to Russia were 5,738 tonnes in August, less than half the July volume.

“When a large buyer like Russia exits the market, the global impact can be widespread,” Seng explained in a release.  “For example, when Russia suspended imports of EU pork in January (because of African swine fever), there was a large increase in European pork entering Asian markets at very low prices.  Similar trends could emerge as a result of this import ban, especially with Canadian pork that had previously been shipped to Russia in large quantities now seeking alternative markets.”