U.S. pork exports finished the first quarter 8 percent higher in volume (598,058 metric tons) and 20 percent higher in value ($1.66 billion) than last year’s record pace, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Mexico remains the leading market for U.S. pork on a volume basis, with first quarter exports up 17 percent in both volume (162,721 metric tons) and value ($299.7 million). Exports to Japan, which nearly reached the $2 billion mark in 2011, were up just 1 percent in volume (122,899 metric tons) but also achieved a 17 percent increase in value to $530.6 million. Exports to the China Hong/Kong region, which came on very strong in the second half of 2011, were 30 percent higher in volume in the first quarter (115,642 metric tons) and surged 82 percent in value to $234.9 million.
Other first quarter market highlights included:
- Exports to Canada were up 26 percent in volume (55,916 metric tons) and were one-third higher in value at just under $200 million.
- In Russia, where U.S. pork now has better potential for expansion under a global tariff rate quota, exports were up 20 percent in volume (15,510 metric tons) and 36 percent in value ($47.9 million).
- Led by a strong performance in Colombia, exports to the Central and South America region expanded 9 percent in volume (20,603 metric tons) and 16 percent in value ($53.5 million).
In South Korea, pork exports surged in the early months of 2011 because of culling of the domestic swine herd (due to foot-and-mouth disease) and a temporary duty-free tariff rate quota for some cuts of imported pork. Consequently, year-over-year exports to Korea were lower in the first quarter of 2012 – down 27 percent in volume (53,590 metric tons) and 12 percent in value ($154 million). It is important to note, however, that these totals were still more than double the volume and triple the value recorded in the first quarter of 2010.
Thursday May 10, 2012/ USMEF/ United States.