US pork exporters report “impressive progress”

US pork exports are gaining strength this year but will still face challenges with increased global competition and a stronger US dollar, according to the industry’s marketing body, Pork Checkoff.

Reporting on export sales for the first four months of 2016, the organisation said that progress so far this year was “impressive” with significant volume growth into China. Pricing remains a different story, however, with the value of US pork exports down 9% year-on-year for the reporting period.

Looking at April data alone, Pork Checkoff said that US exports to China (excluding Hong Kong) surpassed export volumes to Japan for the first time. Combining exports to China and Hong Kong for the first four months of 2016, however, the volume increase was 78% on the year with China up 117% on its own.

On the back of such progress, Pork Checkoff’s vice president for international marketing, Becca Nepple, said the organisation was committed to bolstering its partnership with international customers through additional funding of in-country promotions of US Pork.

“Central America also has been an emerging and important destination for US pork exports as the industry has focused on market development and value-added promotions,” said Ms Nepple. “From January to April, exports to this region were up 22% in volume and 23% in value, compared to 2015.

“Exports to Mexico, Japan and South Korea were below last year, for the same time period, however, with market development and relationship-building programmes now being used to work towards regaining lost market share due to the West Coast port slowdown, ongoing competition and currency challenges.”

The top US pork export markets during the first quarter of 2016 were Mexico (470.4 million lbs), Hong Kong/China (389.2m/lb), Japan (281.8m/lb), Canada (139.3m/lb), South Korea (113m/lb) and Central/South America (81.5m/lb).

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