U.S. pork exports in December of 188,410 MT were up 3% from year-ago and for the full calendar year, exports of 2.13 MMT were down 2% from 2014 levels. Meanwhile, U.S. beef exports in December of 94,586 MT were down 6% from year-ago and full year results of 1.07 MMT were down 11% from year-ago, according to USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
“There is no question that 2015 was a challenging year for red meat exports, with several economic headwinds taking a toll,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “But with production increasing in the year ahead in both the beef and pork industries, we cannot afford to dwell on these circumstances or back away from our commitment to the international markets. We must continue to find innovative ways to differentiate U.S. products, win back market share and regain momentum for exports in 2016. That means aggressive pursuit of new customers and new opportunities, in both emerging and established markets.”
Pork exports in 2015 accounted for 24% of total production, down from 26.5% in 2014. Beef exports accounted for 13% of total production, down one percentage point from year-ago.
Pork exports to Mexico set a new monthly record in December at 67,980 MT, pushing 2015 volume to 718,819 MT, a 6% increase from the previous year and a new record for the fourth consecutive year. Meanwhile on the beef side, Korea, Taiwan and the Caribbean were bright spots, and while Japan remined the leading value market for U.S. beef, exports to the country declined by 15% from the previous year in terms of volume.
USDA is more optimistic about its beef and pork export outlook for 2016, as it projects beef exports to climb by 9.4% and pork exports to improve by 3.6% from 2015 levels. USDA's meat supply and use tables will be updated at 11:00 a.m., CT tomorrow.