The National Pork Board has put together a scheme for “development and relationship-building” with Mexico – a critical market for America – after volume exports of pork dropped when compared to 2015.
A triumvirate of a strengthening US dollar against the weakening Mexican peso, a labour slump at West Coast ports and ongoing competition created an unsavoury cocktail, resulting in US pork exports to Mexico falling.
Despite the unforgiving headwind, Mexico remained the top export market for US pork in volume terms over the first four months of 2016. The country imported 460.4 million pounds (lb) of pork from the US, worth $355.9m.
Big Bucks: top Q1 US pork importers
South Korea: $129.4m
South America: $86.7m
Chinese silver lining
Japan and South Korea were the other notable players to import less US pork than in they did at the same point last year.
In total, exports of US pork globally came to $1.8bn, while 1.2bn lb of pork were exported. This was a drop of nearly 10% when compared to the same period from last year.
In the midst of figures portraying decline and depreciation, America’s G20 ally China has been a silver lining for the pork industry, with volume exports rising by 117%. Combined exports of all pork variants to China and Hong Kong rose by 54% in value, 78% in volume.
“US pork exports are gaining strength this year, but will still face challenges, with increased global competition and a stronger US dollar,” said Becca Nepple, vice-president of international marketing for the Pork Checkoff. “The Checkoff is committed to bolstering its partnership with international customers through additional funding of in-country promotions of US pork with the US Meat Export Federation.”
Exports to South America also rose by 22% (volume) and 23% (value) respectively, when compared to 2015.
Over the month of April, exports of all pork varieties accounted for 24% of all pork produced by the US that month. On average, this works out at $45.73 per head going into the pocket of producers.