U.S. meat exports volumes slip in July

July meat export volumes lower, but values remain on record pace


For the first time this year, high prices for red meat slowed down the pace for U.S. beef and pork exports in July, according to monthly statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

U.S. beef exports value for the month of July held steady at $621.7 million but slipped 15% in volume in comparison to July 2013. Still, for the calendar year beef exports are 4% above last year at 687,752 mt. and remained on pace for record year with total value at $3.89 million, up 13%.

“Demand for U.S. beef in Asian markets has continued to strengthen this year, adding further value to cuts that are popular there and underutilized domestically,” said USMEF president and chief executive officer Philip Seng. “With our limited supplies, competition for these cuts among Asian buyers contributes greatly to U.S. cattle prices. USMEF continues to work with our industry partners to educate the trade about alternative cuts and merchandising ideas, so that we can deliver value to our Asian customers even in these times of historically tight supplies.”

Moreover, for the first seven months this year U.S. beef exports calculated to 14% of total production and 11% for muscle cuts.  The export value per head of fed slaughter was $298.56 in July, slightly down from June but $25 year-over-year.

Although U.S. pork exports in July are down 3% in volume at 173,270 mt., the value climbed 14% to $573.5 million.  For January-July, exports established a record pace in both volume at 1.32 million mt., up 7% and value of $4.0 billion -marking the first time pork export value has exceeded $4 billion before August.

“Pork exports have overcome some severe price disadvantages this year, especially in Asian markets where we compete head-to-head with European pork,” Seng explained. “U.S. prices began to moderate in August, so these price gaps have now been narrowed or eliminated. Going forward, this should relieve some of the price pressure on U.S. exporters.”

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