Strong gains for U.S. pork; beef export value higher than a year ago

January pork exports led by Mexico with momentum growing in Western Hemisphere, Asia-Pacific; beef variety meat exports increased 12%.

March 11, 2024

2 Min Read
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U.S. pork exports raced to a great start in 2024, according to January data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. While January beef exports were slightly below last year’s volume, export value trended significantly higher. Lamb exports were also strong in January, posting the highest value in more than four years.

Other markets following Mexico's demand for U.S. pork

Although January pork exports were led by another powerful performance in leading market Mexico, U.S. pork continued to make gains in a wide range of Western Hemisphere and Asia-Pacific destinations. With momentum continuing to grow in South Korea, Central and South America, Australia and Malaysia, pork exports totaled 251,424 metric tons in January, up 6% from a year ago. Export value also increased 6% to $682.1 million.

“Mexico’s demand for U.S. pork is so spectacular that it tends to overshadow other great success stories,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “It is especially gratifying to see other markets following the trail blazed by Mexico, as purchases expand beyond raw material for further processing to include center-of-the-plate cuts, including loins, which are gaining popularity at retail and foodservice.”

Excellent month for beef variety meat exports

January beef exports totaled 99,764 mt, down 1% from a year ago. But export value climbed 9% to $763.8 million, as value trended higher year-over-year to South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean and Hong Kong. Beef variety meat exports increased 12% from a year ago to 23,138 mt, while value climbed 16% to $89 million, led by growth in Japan, Egypt, Mexico, Korea, Peru and China/Hong Kong.

“While USMEF expects 2024 to be another challenging year in terms of beef supply availability, the upward trend in export value is a positive sign,” Halstrom said. “The inventory has been cleared and customers in Asia are reloading on U.S. beef. There is also more optimism in Asia’s foodservice sector, especially in Korea. Combined with the recent strength we’ve seen in the Western Hemisphere, this bodes well for beef demand in the coming year. January was also an excellent month for beef variety meat exports, which are especially important for maximizing the value of every animal.”

Lamb exports largest in 10 months

January exports of U.S. lamb totaled 303 mt, up 28% from a year ago and the largest since March. Export value increased 53% to $1.7 million, the highest monthly value since December 2019. Export growth was led by the Caribbean and Canada, while exports to Mexico also increased year-over-year in value.

A detailed summary of the January export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb, including market-specific highlights, is available from the USMEF website.

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