The latest (December 7, 2015) USDA meat trade data indicates that after five months of continued decline, U.S. pork exports experienced growth during September and October 2015 (see Figure 1). Compared to their corresponding previous month, U.S. pork muscle cut exports rose 6.7% in September and 2.5% in October. Pork exports in September (138,398 metric tons (MT)) showed a 17.5% increase year-over-year, while exports in October totaled 141,923 MT and were 8.4% higher than the same period of 2014.
Based on the USDA's Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (LDP) report published on November 17, 2015, pork production during the first three quarters of 2015 increased 8.0% to 8.184 million MT, indicating a recovery from the impact of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) on the industry in 2014. The recovery from PEDv has not translated into a substantial increase in U.S. pork muscle cut exports in 2015 compared to last year. From January to October 2015, exports (1.402 million MT) increased only 0.7% year-over-year (1.391 million MT). U.S. pork exports in 2015 have been negatively impacted by factors such a strong U.S. dollar, intensified competition from other pork exporters such as the European Union, and temporary traffic congestion in West Coast ports at the beginning of the year. The volume of U.S. pork exports during the first ten months of 2015 was up 2.5% relative to 2013 (1.367 million MT).
Mexico continues as the main importer of U.S. pork. The U.S. exported 471,834 MT of pork muscle cuts to Mexico during the first ten months of 2015, rising 11.5% from the previous year. October 2015 exports to Mexico (47,796 MT) rose 3.1% from those in September (2015). Exports in October were 8.4% higher than the same period in 2014 (see Figure 2).
Japan is the second largest market for U.S. pork but the volume exported to Japan has declined since 2011. Exports to Japan fell from 477,677 MT in 2011 to 383,089 MT in 2014, representing a reduction of 19.8%. The volume of U.S. pork shipped to Japan totaled 316,645 MT through the first 10 months of this year (2015) and was 3.6% below the volume exported during the same period of 2014. The West port congestion at the beginning of the year affected substantially pork exports to Japan, affecting the ability of U.S. pork exporters to meet Japan's pork shelf-life requirements. In addition, due to the Russian ban on meats imposed on several countries (including the U.S. and EU) in 2014, the EU has rerouted its pork exports to other markets; as a result, Japan (among other countries) has seen a large influx of low priced (relative to the U.S. dollar) EU pork, and in turn has weakened Japan's demand for U.S. pork. It is important to mention, that despite the downward trend in the volume of U.S. pork exports to Japan this year (2015), Japan is the leading value destination for U.S. pork. From January to October 2015, the value of U.S. pork muscle cuts exported to Japan was $1.294 billion compared to $876.082 million, the value of U.S. pork exports to Mexico during the same period. The value of U.S. pork exported to Japan during the first ten months of 2015 was 16% lower compared to the same period last year, reflecting in part, both lower demand for U.S. pork and lower U.S. pork prices in 2015.
Other important destinations for U.S. pork in 2015 have been Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong/China, and Central and South America (see Figure 2). Despite the strong U.S. dollar, U.S. pork muscle cut exports to South Korea and Central and South America have managed to stay ahead of last year. The U.S. exported 130,888 MT of pork to South Korea from January to October of this year, climbing 34.5% relative to 2014. On the other hand, the pork volume imported by Central and South America during the first ten months of 2015 increased 7% to 91,712 MT compared to last year. This year (January to October 2015), the U.S. exported 155,543 MT of pork to Canada in contrast to 162,505 MT last year.
The latest (November 2015) USDA U.S. pork production projection for all of 2015 year amounts to 11.117 million MT (24.508 billion pounds), reflecting 7.3% growth year-over-year. Likewise, the volume of U.S. pork exports is expected to increase 2.9% to 2.266 million MT (4.996 billion pounds) in 2015 compared to 2014.
- pork exports