However, despite a continued fall in export volumes and a notable dip in August sales, the value of beef and pork exports for the first eight months of 2012 were higher than those of 2011, the USMEF report showed.
According to statistics, beef exports from the US were notable in size (100,000 metric tonnes), but still 14% lower than the previous August. Exports of beef for August totalled US$486.2m in value and were 5% down on last year.
USMEF CEO Phillip Seng said: “We face a challenging business climate in several key markets, with rising production costs and slowing economic growth creating some anxiety among buyers. We’re also seeing a surge in domestic meat supplies in some areas, particularly in South Korea. But the commitment to enhancing global demand for US beef and pork remains very strong, as evidenced by the terrific support of our producer organisations. These are the circumstances in which effective global marketing takes on an even greater level of importance, as producers need to maximise the value of every cut and every carcass.”
US exports of pork through August accounted for 23.7% of the country’s pork muscle cut production, which were higher than the 22.8% achieved in 2011. Export value of pork maintained an average of US$56.51 per head slaughtered and was up on last year from US$53.54.
Meat exports to Canada were down by 15% in volume in August to 111,372 mt, However, export value rose to 4% above last year and levelled at US$736.5m. According to USMEF exports to the Middle East were similar and slipped in volume by 9%, but value managed to increase by 4% to US$229m.
A USMEF breakdown of beef and pork exports from the US to other countries showed that meat going Central and South America increased by 37% in volume terms to 23,766 mt and were up 77% in value to US$87.9m.
Seng explained that exports to Mexico were a focus of growth and said: “Mexico’s meat processing sector is an outstanding customer for US pork, but USMEF has also made considerable strides in building retail demand. This has made Mexico an attractive destination for a wider variety of pork cuts, which has really enhanced our export value.”
Exports of beef and pork to both Russia and Hong Kong rose by 8% and 9% respectively in volume and to US$214m and US$194m in value.