Export numbers released by USDA reflect a challenging first half of 2015, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. June pork exports totaled 174,554 metric tons, down four percent from a year ago and beef export volume in June was down eight percent from a year ago to some 96-thousand metric tons. USMEF president and CEO Philip Seng said the first-quarter slump was partially due to the West Coast port labor dispute, as well as intense competition from countries that continue to recognize opportunities in several markets. Seng added that, while marketing budgets remain flat, competitors are beefing up efforts to capture larger shares of the red meat market.
Competition continues to be a major factor, along with a strong U.S. dollar that is providing a price advantage for several competitors with slumping currencies.