Broad momentum for U.S. pork exports; bright spots for U.S. beef

Mexico continues to be a strong market for U.S. red meat.

January 11, 2024

3 Min Read
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Fueled by record performances in Mexico, Central America and Colombia, November exports of U.S. pork reached the highest value since mid-2021, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. U.S. beef exports slowed in November, recording the third lowest value of 2023. November lamb exports also trended lower.

Pork exports set annual records

November pork exports totaled 258,601 metric tons, up 5% from a year ago and the highest in six months. Export value was up 2% to $737.4 million, the highest since May 2021 and the seventh highest on record. November volume and value to Central America were record-large, while export value reached new heights in Mexico and Colombia. November exports also increased significantly to South Korea and Oceania.

For January through November, pork exports totaled 2.64 million mt, up 8% from a year ago, valued at $7.39 billion (up 5%). Annual records were already achieved in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Malaysia and Indonesia, while exports to Central America are on a record pace. Pork export value per head slaughtered ($63.12) was also record-high through November.

“The momentum for U.S. pork exports is remarkable and very broad-based,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “While Mexico accounts for much of the past year’s export growth, there are success stories throughout the Western Hemisphere and across the entire globe. And the coming year also looks very promising in both established and emerging markets.”

Solid demand for U.S. beef in Western Hemisphere

Beef exports totaled 99,029 mt in November, down 14% from a year ago and the second lowest of the year, while value fell 7% to $786.2 million. For the first 11 months of the year, beef exports were 13% below the record pace of 2022 at 1.18 million mt, while value declined 17% to $9.11 billion. Beef exports increased year-over-year to Mexico, Central America, the Dominican Republic and Hong Kong, but trended significantly lower to South Korea, Japan and China. Exports to Taiwan were below the record levels of 2022, but did not decline as sharply as in the larger Asian markets.

“There are certainly bright spots for U.S. beef, with exports rebounding in Mexico and demand in several Western Hemisphere markets the strongest we’ve seen in years,” Halstrom said. “But economic conditions in our largest Asian markets and the sharp rebound in Australian production and exports have been persistent obstacles over the past year, making it a sharp contrast with the tremendous 2022 performance for U.S. beef exports. Despite these challenges, we still see sustained demand for chilled U.S. beef, and the U.S. remains the dominant supplier of chilled beef entering Korea, Japan and Taiwan.”

November exports of U.S. lamb totaled 115 mt, down 64% from a year ago, while value fell 50% to $817,000. January-November exports were 18% below the previous year’s pace at 2,169 mt, while value was 17% lower at $11.5 million. Exports trended higher to Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Netherlands Antilles and Barbados, but these gains were offset by lower shipments to Mexico and Canada.

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

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