Pork export gain for US comes at a price

Signs of a recovery in US pork exports are beginning to show through with second quarter sales up 6% year-on-year, having been as much as 15% down in the first quarter of 2015, according to AHDB Pork.

Although the Q1 result kept overall US pork exports for the first half of 2015 around 5% down on 2014, the indications are that the US industry is starting to regain export momentum.

“Shipments to Mexico, the largest market for the US, were up 10% on the year, increasing its share of US pork exports to over a third,” said AHDB Pork, adding that volumes to South Korea were up by nearly half as Korean import demand remained strong on the back of depressed domestic production.

“However, shipments to Japan, Canada and China were all down on the year with the US continuing to lose market share in China, with only a small number of plants approved for export.”

Price has also been a factor in the overall improvement in US export business over the last three months, with AHDB Pork commenting that “prices had to fall in order for US pork to compete”. As a result, the total value of US pork exports in January to June 2015 was down 18% on the year with unit prices down 14%.

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