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October a Good Month for Beef and Pork Exports



(NAFB)--In October - beef exports remained on a record-setting pace and pork exports - though still behind the record levels of 2012 - had one of their strongest performances of the year. That’s according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Japan and Mexico increased the volume of their U.S. beef purchases in excess of 40-percent for the month. Sales to the Hong Kong market skyrocketed 148-percent. Total U.S. beef exports for October reached 107,471 metric tons valued at 564.5-million dollars - increases of six-percent and nearly 14-percent respectively. Pork exports had their best month of the year on a value basis at 539.9-million dollars - and second-largest in volume at 186,637 metric tons. But that’s a decline of 11-percent and 14-percent respectively from last October’s all-time single-month highs for both volume and value. USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng says relentless competition from other international suppliers is making it tougher to maintain market share in Japan - which continues to be the top value market for U.S. pork exports. As Congress continues to debate budget cuts that could affect spending on the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development program - Seng notes the European Commission has proposed more than tripling its spending to support EU agricultural and agri-food sector products. As a result - he says we can expect to see even heavier competition in the top value markets going forward.

For the year - total U.S. beef exports stand at 969,186 metric tons - up two-percent - valued at nearly 5.1-billion dollars - up 11.percent. According to USMEF - exports are expected to easily top 2012’s record value of 5.51-billion dollars. Seng says Hong Kong is emerging as a major beef market - but points out the U.S. continues to miss out on even larger opportunities in mainland China - where we haven’t had access since 2003. According to the Global Trade Atlas - mainland China’s beef imports through the first 10 months of the year have reached 253,196 metric tons valued at nearly 1.1-billion dollars - huge increases in volume and value over last year.

The leading volume market for U.S. pork - Mexico - dipped two-percent in volume during October - though the value increased 5.6-percent to 114.6-million dollars. Export volume to the country through the first 10 months of the year was steady with last year’s record pace and value was four-percent higher. October sales to Japan - the top value market - slipped nearly eight-percent in value on 15-percent lower volume. Exports were down nine-percent in volume and six-percent in value through the first 10 months of the year.

Lamb exports for the year remain up seven-percent in value at 23.6-million on seven-percent lower volumes - 10,575 metric tons.

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