May 17, 2022
US pork exports reach biggest record since November at 222,581 tonnes
The United States' pork exports in March 2022 were 222,581 tonnes, the largest since November but nearly 25% below the record volume achieved a year ago.
Export value was US$615.3 million, also the highest since November but down 23% year-over-year. First quarter pork exports fell 20% from a year ago to 629,928 tonnes, valued at $1.71 billion (down 17%).
Following a record year in 2021, pork exports to Mexico continue to climb to new heights. March exports reached 82,348 tonnes, up 24% from a year ago, with value increasing 14% to US$149 million. First quarter exports to Mexico soared 30% to 243,314 tonnes, valued at US$404.2 million (up 17%). While a large percentage of US pork shipments to Mexico are bone-in hams and other cuts destined for further processing, the US industry has also made impressive gains in Mexico's retail and foodservice sectors.
Demand for US pork continues to strengthen in the Dominican Republic, where domestic production has slowed due to the presence of African swine fever. March exports increased 7% from a year ago to a record 7,038 tonnes, valued at US$17.9 million (up 15%).
Pork exports to South Korea continue to trend higher in value, increasing 14% from a year ago to US$154.4 million, driven in part by strong retail demand for convenience-based items and chilled pork cuts. Export volume to South Korea fell 6% from a year ago to 43,950 tonnes. The country's first quarter imports of chilled US pork were up 29% in volume (2,642 tonnes) and climbed 57% in value to US$18.3 million.
As anticipated, first quarter exports to China/Hong Kong dropped significantly from a year ago in both volume (104,286 tonnes, down 56%) and value (US$279.2 million, down 48%). The region is still the dominant destination for US pork variety meat, although demand for these items slowed in the first quarter 2022.
China's zero-COVID policies have added tremendous costs and in some cases, led to restricted sales of imported cold chain food, affecting pork shipments from all foreign suppliers.
While demand for US pork variety meat remains strong, barriers in the market have worsened in 2022. First quarter variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong were down 16% from a year ago to 62,742 tonnes, but export value still increased 2% to US$178.9 million.