U.S. pork exports continued their march forward in May, setting another monthly record, while beef exports reached their highest level since December 2003.

“The shortage in the global meat supply, combined with record pork production in the United States and the continued weak dollar, are putting U.S. beef and pork in a very advantageous position in many export markets,” reports Erin Daley, manager of research and analysis for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

China/Hong Kong has emerged as a major market for U.S. pork since the fourth quarter of 2007, since that country’s pork production has declined.

“It’s not so much that consumption is up,” says Daley. “Rather, production is down, and U.S. pork remains undervalued. Russia is the exception, however, where pork production is up, but not enough to keep pace with rising consumption.”

In May, pork (including variety meat) exports set a new record of 432.4 million pounds worth nearly $452 million. Export volume was up 95% over May 2007, and 12% above the April 2008 record.

This puts January-May 2008 pork exports (including variety meats) at 1.8 billion pounds worth $1.86 billion, up 60% and 51%, respectively, from the same period last year.

China/Hong Kong was the top market for U.S. pork exports in May, with exports totaling 121.9 million pounds valued at $99.4 million pounds, and up from just 23.6 million pounds worth $15.7 million in May last year.

Exports to Japan reached 88.2 million pounds again in May. For January-May, exports totaled 407.7 million pounds valued at $592 million, up 19% and 22% respectively, and still the largest market for U.S. pork in terms of value.

In other key U.S. pork export news:

  • Mexico rebounded in May to 64 million pounds. That puts the January-May total at 292.6 million pounds valued at $213 million, up 16% and 18% respectively, but 15% below the record levels of 2006.
  • Russia’s purchase of U.S. pork exports in May reached 39.5 million pounds valued at $158.9 million, up 137% and 142%, respectively, over May of last year.
  • The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) also set a new record in May at 16.1 million pounds in sales mainly to the Philippines and Vietnam.

For complete export details, go to The U.S. Meat Export Federation.

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