US pork exports up 15% in February, beef too by 48%
US pork and beef exports were well above year-ago levels, with pork exports posting the strongest February volume on record, latest data released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) showed.
Pork exports reached 197,025 tonnes in February, up 15% year-over-year, with value up 17% to $486.7 million. In the first two months of this year, exports totaled 399,692 tonnes, up 18%, with value increasing 22% to $995.3 million.
February exports accounted for 27.6% of total pork production, up from 23.8% last year. January-February ratios were also significantly higher at 26.8% compared with 23% in the first two months of 2016.
Mexico was once again the top destination of February pork exports, with volume up 22% to 64,990 tonnes and value increasing 28% to $116 million. This pushed the two-month totals for Mexico to 137,396 tonnes (up 27%) valued at $244.7 million (up 39%).
USMEF said Mexico's strong demand is reflected not only in increased buying from the US, but also in relatively high domestic hog prices, as per capita consumption of pork continues to grow.
In terms of export value, Japan emerged as the leading market for US pork, with February exports rising 14% to 32,178 tonnes, valued at $130.4 million, up 18%. For January-February, exports to Japan were up 10% in volume (63,755 tonnes) and 14% in value ($256.1 million).
Japan continued to solidify its position as the leading volume and value market for US beef, with February exports climbing 48% from a year ago in volume (23,789 tonnes) and 55% in value ($134.3 million). In the two months to February, exports to Japan were up 41% in volume (46,276 tonnes) and 44% in value ($259.6 million).
Japanese import data showed that US beef overtook Australian beef in the first two months of the year, with US market share climbing to 45.6% while Australia's dropped to 44%.