June 9, 2023


US pork exports surge in April, beef exports face challenges



Data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) showed robust growth in US pork exports across multiple markets in April, but beef exports experienced a decline compared to the substantial figures seen a year ago, National Hog Farmer reported.


In April, pork exports reached 243,789 metric tons (mt), marking a 15% increase from the previous year, with a corresponding 10% rise in value to US$660.1 million.


Notably, April saw the largest pork exports to South Korea in nearly four years, along with increased exports to leading market Mexico and the ASEAN, the Dominican Republic, Australia, Taiwan, and China/Hong Kong. The export value per head slaughtered reached US$67.56, the highest since May 2021.


For the period from January to April 2023, pork exports experienced a 14% surge, reaching 960,480 mt, with a total value of US$2.62 billion, representing a 13% increase.


Dan Halstrom, president and chief executive officer of USMEF, Mexico is a key market for US pork, and noting the sustained strength of Latin American demand and the increasing momentum of US pork exports in the Asia Pacific region.


In contrast, US beef exports in April experienced a 10% decline compared to the previous year, totalling 111,416 mt, with a corresponding 18% decrease in value to US$859.5 million. The share of production exported remained steady, and the export value per head of fed slaughter reached its highest level since July at US$441.70.


Despite the overall decline, beef exports showed positive momentum in Mexico during April, with increased exports also observed in South Korea, Europe, and Africa. Although exports to China/Hong Kong performed relatively well, shipments to Japan saw a significant decline.


During the first four months of 2023, beef exports faced challenges, with an 8% volume decrease (437,910 mt) and a 21% decline in value (US$3.21 billion) compared to the record-setting pace of the previous year.


Halstrom acknowledged the difficulty in maintaining the remarkable export figures seen in the first half of 2022, considering tightening US beef supplies. But he highlighted the ongoing support for beef demand stemming from the rebound in travel and tourism, particularly in Asia, and the related foodservice opportunities.


-      National Hog Farmer

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