July exports of U.S. pork and beef were higher than a year ago, according to data released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Export value results were mixed, with beef exports posting another near-record month while pork export value declined, reflecting the impact of retaliatory duties imposed by Mexico and China.
Pork exports totaled 176,413 metric tons in July, up 1.5 percent from a year ago, valued at $465.3 million — down 5 percent year-over-year and the lowest monthly value since February 2016. For the first seven months of the year, pork exports remained 2 percent ahead of last year’s record volume pace at 1.45 million mt, while value was up 3 percent to $3.83 billion.
“It is encouraging to see pork export volume continue to grow, even in the face of considerable headwinds in some of our most critical markets,” USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said in a news release.
“But as anticipated, the 20 percent duty in Mexico and 62 percent duty in China weigh heavily on the price these exports can command and on the returns generated for producers and for everyone in the U.S. supply chain. Buyers outside of Mexico and China have stepped up to purchase our product, which is fantastic. But they are capitalizing on a buying opportunity made possible by the higher costs of doing business in Mexico and China.”
Led by South Korea and strong growth in Japan, Taiwan and Latin America, July beef exports climbed 12 percent in volume, up 16 percent from a year ago and just slightly below the May 2018 record of $722.1 million. For January through July, beef exports established a record pace in volume and value.
“The worldwide momentum for U.S. beef has rarely been as strong as it is today,” Halstrom said. “To a large degree our mainstay Asian markets are driving this growth, but emerging markets in Asia and in the Western Hemisphere are also displaying a tremendous appetite for U.S. beef.”