US pork exports dip in July

By Aidan Fortune contact

- Last updated on GMT

Japan is proving to be a make or break market for the US
Japan is proving to be a make or break market for the US
Pork exports from the US dipped below its year-ago level for the first time in 15 months. 

According to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF, pork exports totaled 173,675 mt in July, down 4% year-over-year, valued at $488.9 million (m), down 0.6%. However the data showed that January-July volume was still up 11% from a year ago to 1.43 million mt, while export value was up 13% year-on-year to $3.7 billion.

Pork exports to Japan saw a year-over-year decline in July, as exports dipped 7% in both volume (28,314 mt) and value ($120.5 m). Pork exports to Mexico remained on course for a sixth consecutive annual volume record, with July volume up 7% from a year ago to 58,625 mt and value increasing 9% to $122.9m.

Beef exports fared better during July. According to the data, July beef exports totaled 104,488 metric tons (mt), up 5% year-over-year, while export value reached $623.7m – up 18% from a year ago and the highest since December 2014. For January through July, exports increased 11% in volume (711,364 mt) and 15% in value ($3.97 billion) compared to the first seven months of last year.

Beef’s success was largely driven by demand from the Japanese foodservice industry. Beef exports to Japan totaled 27,689 mt in July, up 20% from a year ago and the largest since July 2013. July export value to Japan increased 36% to $175.7m, the highest monthly total since 1996.

For January through July, exports to Japan were up 23% in volume (178,501 mt) and 29% in value ($1.08 billion). Driven by strong growth in Japan’s foodservice industry, especially the gyudon beef bowl chains which rely on US. short plate, US frozen beef exports to Japan were up 12% to 64,928 mt (valued at $250m, up 18%). This growth may not last forever though as Japan’s frozen beef safeguard was triggered in late July, increasing the duty on frozen beef imports from suppliers without a trade agreement with Japan, including the U.S., from 38.5% to 50%. The effects of this increase is expected to be seen in the USMEF’s September data.

Philip Seng, USMEF ceo, said:

“July was certainly a solid month, especially for beef exports, but these results remind us that the U.S. red meat industry operates in an intensely competitive global environment. At a time when some of our most essential trade agreements are under review, we must be mindful of how these agreements have helped make U.S. beef, pork and lamb more readily available and more affordable for millions of global customers, to the benefit of U.S. producers and everyone in the U.S. supply chain.”

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