U.S. Beef Exports Remain Solid; Pork Exports Still Facing Headwinds
September beef exports totaled 110,160 metric tons (mt), up 6 percent from a year ago, valued at $687.1 million – up 11 percent. For January through September, beef exports were just over 1 million mt, up 9 percent from a year ago, while value surged 18 percent to $6.2 billion. For beef muscle cuts only, the year-over-year increases were even more impressive, jumping 13 percent in volume (777,740 mt) and 20 percent in value ($5.54 billion).
Exports accounted for 13.7 percent of total beef production in September and 11.4 percent for muscle cuts only, up from 12.5 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, a year ago. For the first three quarters of 2018, exports accounted for 13.5 percent of total production (up from 12.8 percent) and 11.1 percent for muscle cuts – up one full percentage point from last year. Beef export value equated to $334.63 per head of fed slaughter in September and $320.85 for January through September, each up 16 percent from a year ago.
September pork export volume was down 2 percent from a year ago to 179,423 mt, while export value fell 7 percent to $470.2 million. Pork muscle cuts were 2 percent higher than a year ago at 146,542 mt, but value still declined 3 percent to $397.6 million. September variety meat exports dropped significantly in both volume (32,881 mt, down 18 percent) and value ($72.6 million, down 21 percent). For January through September, combined pork and pork variety meat exports were 1 percent above last year's record pace at 1.81 million mt and 2 percent higher in value at $4.79 billion. For pork muscle cuts only, exports increased 6 percent from a year ago in volume (1.46 million mt), valued at just under $4 billion (up 3 percent).
September exports accounted for 24.8 percent of total pork production, up from 23.6 percent a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 21.8 percent – up two full percentage points from last September. For January through September, pork exports accounted for 26.1 percent of total production, down from 26.5 percent last year, but the percentage of muscle cuts exported increased from 22.1 to 22.7 percent. Export value per head slaughtered was down 1 percent from a year ago in September ($48.72) and for January through September ($52.46).
"With a full quarter still to be reported, beef export value records are already being surpassed in some markets and global value is on track for $8 billion by year's end," said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "Pork exports have also held up relatively well, but unfortunately the obstacles U.S. pork faces in China and Mexico are putting a lot of pressure on export value."