Pork Profit Maximizer – Food Service Edition
April red meat exports were excellent. The early Easter may have helped, adding more work days to the month compared to a holiday-shortened month last year. Lower hog and cattle prices also provided an assist, sometimes offering foreign buyers an opportunity to cover needs at lower prices. Below are some of the highlights with April export data on a product weight basis. Tomorrow we will use the carcass weight data to calculate per capita domestic availability in April as well as an early look at May product flows.
Pork exports were higher quite a bit higher than we expected based on the weekly shipment data. Total exports of fresh/frozen pork in April were 184,489 MT, 18.4% higher than a year ago. The chart to the right illustrates where the growth in export volume came from in April. Mexico accounted for a big chunk of the growth, hence current market trepidation about Mexico tariffs. Total shipments to Mexico in April were 66,685 MT, 42.6% higher than a year ago. Shipments to Mexico in April accounted for 36% of all US pork exports and near 70% of the increase in shipments was due to Mexico demand. Japan was the second largest market for US pork in April, with shipments totaling 30,073 MT, 5.5% less than last year. As with beef, US pork exports to South Korea have taken off. Total shipments to this market in April were 23,973 MT, 69.9% higher than last year. The value of US pork exports was also higher but one can see that part of the reason why exports posted such robust growth was due to lower prices available. In the case of Mexico, the value of exports was $114.7 million, 32% higher than last year. Japan remains the most valuable market for US pork even as shipments to Japan are less than half of exports to Mexico. The value of exports to Japan in April was $122.4 million, 4% less than a year ago.