USMEF: February pork exports remain robust


Fueled by growth in the Western Hemisphere, South Korea and Australia, U.S. pork exports posted another excellent performance in February, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Posted on Apr 09 ,00:15

USMEF: February pork exports remain robust

February pork exports increased 14% from a year ago to 250,930 metric tons (mt), while value jumped 15% to $685.1 million. Through the first two months of 2024, exports increased 10% in both volume (502,354 mt) and value ($1.37 billion). 

"Coming off a record value year, it’s great to see broad-based momentum for pork exports continue globally into 2024", said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. "While Mexico is certainly at the forefront, we are seeing excellent growth in markets like Colombia, Chile, El Salvador and the Caribbean, and demand has rebounded impressively in Korea and Australia".

Mexico still the pacesetter, but pork export growth widespread

Pork exports to leading market Mexico remained on a remarkable roll in February, increasing 21% from a year ago to 94,272 mt – the eighth highest on record – while value jumped 22% to $189.5 million. Through February, shipments to Mexico totaled 196,453 mt, 12% above last year’s record pace, while value increased 15% to $396.8 million. 

Demand for U.S. pork continues to rebound in Korea, where shipments have accelerated significantly since late 2023. February exports reached 21,217 mt, soaring 71% above last year, while export value increased 74% to $69.3 million. Through February, exports to Korea increased 61% in volume (41,944 mt) and 62% in value ($137 million).

Pork exports to South America are off to a strong start in 2024. February shipments increased 58% from a year ago to 13,132 mt, while value climbed 65% to $37.9 million. Through February, exports to the region increased 56% to 24,596 mt, valued at just under $70 million. Exports to Colombia came on strong in the fourth quarter of 2023 and that momentum has continued, with January-February exports up 56% in volume (21,710 mt) and 70% in value ($59.5 million).  February exports to Colombia were the fourth highest on record at 11,262 mt, up 56% year-over-year, valued at $31.4 million (up 71%). January-February shipments to Chile climbed 87% to 2,317 mt, with value also up 70% to $8 million. 

Other January-February results for U.S. pork exports include: 

  • Led by outstanding growth in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama, pork exports to Central America remain very strong. Through the first two months of the year, shipments to the region were 17% above last year at 24,055 mt, valued at $72.4 million – up 26% from the record value pace of 2023. Export volume to leading markets Honduras and Guatemala were modestly lower through February, though export value still trended higher. 
  • Last year’s pork export growth to the Caribbean was mostly driven by the Dominican Republic, where shipments set an annual record. Exports to the DR have remained strong in 2024, but have pulled back to some degree from last year’s large volumes. However, demand from other Caribbean destinations pushed January-February exports 3% above last year’s pace at 22,328 mt, valued at $63 million (up 2%), with growth led by Trinidad and Tobago, the Leeward-Windward Islands, Cuba and the Netherlands Antilles.   
  • January-February pork exports to Australia more than tripled from a year ago, climbing 232% to 17,553 mt, valued at $62.9 million (up 229%). Due to import restrictions, most U.S. pork shipped to Australia is raw material for further processing, but value-added processed U.S. products have also gained traction in the market. 
  • Malaysia continues to emerge as a promising growth market for U.S. pork. Through February, shipments to Malaysia totaled 844 mt, up 848% over last year’s low volumes. Export value increased 734% to $2.5 million. 
  • Despite the persistently weak yen and other economic headwinds, pork exports to Japan have held fairly steady in 2024. Through February, exports were 1% below last year’s pace in both volume (56,234 mt) and value ($228.3 million). 
  • January-February exports of pork variety meat were 5% above last year’s record pace at 100,192 mt, though value fell 3% to $215.4 million. Volume growth was led by Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, Korea, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Japan, offsetting a decline in demand from China. 
  • February pork export value equated to $62.37 per head slaughtered, up 4% from a year ago. The January-February average was $61.16 per head, also up 4%. Exports accounted for 29.4% of total February pork production and 25.4% for muscle cuts, up from 28.3% and 23.8%, respectively, last February. The January-February ratios were 28.8% of total production and 24.8% for muscle cuts, each about one percentage point higher than a year ago. 

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