June 10, 2015


US pork, beef exports 'regaining momentum'



US pork and beef exports were seen to have regained global momentum in April as they posted the biggest monthly volumes during the past 15 and six months, respectively.


Pork exports during the fourth month of the year reached 125 tonnes, up 4% year on year, although export value at $512.1 million was down 14% due to lower pork prices, data compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (Usmef) showed.


Beef exports in April, on the other hand, totaled 92,263 tonnes, the largest since December 2014 although down 7% year on year. Export value at $555.3 million was also the highest since December and up 3% year on year.


"Exports are still recovering from a slow start to the year, but the April results confirm that the US industry is regaining global momentum," said Usmef president and CEO Philip Seng


Seng noted that it was in April that port congestion in the West Coast port eased, adding that "despite the US dollar continuing to be very strong relative to the currencies of most key customers and competitors, demand for US meat is holding up well."


Seng cautioned, though, that the strong dollar may make US exports pricier than those of competitors such as Australia and the EU.


For example, he said, Australian beef "is enjoying its second round of tariff rate reductions in Japan, and the projected slowdown in Australia's beef production has not materialized".


"A similar situation may develop with regard to European pork, as the EU and Japan have pledged to complete their trade agreement negotiations by the end of this year. There are a number of FTA negotiations that bear watching, because they have the potential to further shake up the competitive landscape", Seng added.

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