The U.S. Meat Export Federation reports January exports of U.S. pork and beef were well above year-ago levels, but both were down from the totals recorded the previous month. Pork exports totaled 165,138 metric tons valued at nearly $397 million. That's an increase of 15% in volume and 19% in value over January 2010. The year to year jump is even bigger for beef. The 89,673 metric tons is a 24% increase and the $355.6 million in value was a 43% jump.
"Despite some significant market access issues - some ongoing and some new - our exports performed quite well in January," said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. "U.S. meat products continue to command excellent prices throughout the world, which is providing a boost for the American producer and the entire meat industry."
Japan showed no letdown from its record-breaking performance of 2010, when it purchased more than $1.6 billion in U.S. pork. January exports to Japan totaled 35,765 metric tons valued at $133.5 million - an increase of 28% in volume and 24% in value over a year ago.
"Our team in Japan is continuing to launch new initiatives, including a new pork butt promotion aimed at educating consumers about the quality and versatility of this cut, to help keep this momentum going throughout the year," Seng said.
U.S. beef exports cracked the $4 billion mark for the first time in 2010, and showed no signs of slowing down in 2011. Mexico was the only major market to post a decline in 2010 as it still struggled to recover from the global economic slump, but showed renewed momentum in the fourth quarter of the year. This trend continued in January with an 18% jump in the value of exports on volume that was slightly below last year.
Canada solidified its position as the No. 2 market for U.S. beef, with January exports up 17% in volume and surging one-third in value to $63.1 million.
Despite limited market access, U.S. beef continued to make strides in Japan with exports rising nearly 70% in both volume and value to 9,459 metric tons valued at $47.2 million. Increased exports were also seen in South Korea, Hong Kong and the Middle East.
"U.S. beef continues to make remarkable strides across the globe, despite some major obstacles," Seng said. "It is very gratifying to see demand in Mexico recovering, as that was the one piece of the puzzle that was missing throughout much of 2010."
January exports of U.S. lamb rose 24% in volume over January 2010 but dropped 19% in value to $2.28 million. Canada, the Caribbean and the Middle East showed positive trends while export value to Mexico, Central America and Hong Kong declined compared to last year.
Complete export statistics for pork, beef and lamb are posted HERE.