PIERS data, reflecting Mexico’s import data, showed strong pork demand in June. Mexico’s imports of U.S. pork and pork variety meat were the largest since March at 65,636 metric tons (mt) – up 17 percent year-over-year and 15 percent higher than in May. Growth was reported across all categories, with the largest product group, chilled bone-in hams/shoulders, up 18 percent from a year ago to 39,400 mt. The strong June numbers pushed first-half imports to 377,043 mt, 6 percent above last year’s record pace.
Since September 2014, following Russia’s suspension of pork imports from the EU, U.S. and Canada, Mexico has also imported much larger volumes of Canadian pork. This continued in June with a new record volume of 14,629 mt, nearly doubling the total from June 2014. Mexico’s first-half imports of Canadian pork reached 69,177 mt, up 60 percent. Since Russia’s embargo went into effect, Canada has shifted product to Mexico, where the weak Canadian dollar provides a currency advantage as the Mexican peso trades at historic lows against the U.S. dollar.
Mexico’s live hog prices moved seasonally higher in June, averaging $0.78/lb. But this was still 27 percent lower than a year ago in U.S. dollars and 13 percent lower in pesos.
Mexico also continues to import large volumes of U.S. poultry, despite restrictions related to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). June imports of 75,425 mt were up 5 percent from a year ago and were the largest in more than two years. First-half imports were up 4 percent to 420,483 mt.
For beef the situation remains challenging, with the impact of relatively high beef prices compounded by the weak peso. Thus Mexico’s imports of U.S. beef and beef variety meats kept their slow pace in June at 11,835 mt, down 22 percent from a year ago and down slightly from May (based on PIERS data, which does not include tripe). Imports from Canada were also lower at 1,226 mt, down 27 percent. First-half imports were lower year-over-year from both the U.S. (70,072 mt, -21 percent) and Canada (9,572 mt, -13 percent).