Value of US pork, beef exports hit records in 2012
Pork exports totaled 2.26 million tonnes, up narrowly from 2011, with the value of those sales up 4 percent at $6.3 billion, both records, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, which compiles USDA data that was issued on Monday.
Beef export volume declined 12 percent to 1.13 million tonnes. But the value of the sales jumped 2 percent to a record $5.51 billion in a year that saw all-time highs in Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures.
Growing global demand for meat propelled export volumes, while record animal feed prices amid the worst U.S. drought in five decades forced up meat values, analysts said.
"Certainly the changing consumer buying patterns throughout the world has influenced demand," said Rich Nelson, analyst at Allendale Inc.
Export sales slowed in December with the beef volume down 16 percent from a year ago while the pork volume declined 14 percent.
Sale volumes should continue to the decline in 2013 due to a smaller U.S. cattle herd and to Russia banning U.S. meat imports containing the animal feed additive ractopamine. The additive is used to make meat more lean.
Russia's imports of U.S. beef rose 10 percent to a record of 80,408 tonnes in 2012, while pork imports were up 33 percent. That was before the
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