Strong Momentum for U.S. Beef Exports; Pork Exports Trend Lower

Clint Thompson Beef, Exports/Imports

Coming off a record-breaking performance in 2021, U.S. beef exports remained red-hot in January, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports continued to trend lower in January despite another outstanding month for exports to leading market Mexico.

Beef exports totaled 119,066 metric tons (mt), up 13% from a year ago, while value soared 57% to $1.03 billion. This was the third-highest value total on record, trailing only August and November of last year. Export value per head of fed slaughter set a new record, exceeding $500 for the first time. Export value to South Korea set a new record, topping $300 million. Strong year-over-year increases were achieved in China/Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, the Caribbean and Central America.

January pork exports totaled 208,808 mt, down 16% from a year ago, while export value fell 14% to $555.6 million. Exports to Mexico were outstanding, up 36% from a year ago to more than 87,000 mt. Exports to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador also continued to gain momentum and export value to Korea jumped significantly. But shipments to most other markets were below last year. This includes China, as the continued rebound with their pork production has slowed demand for U.S. pork.

January exports of U.S. lamb totaled 1,533 mt, up 49% from a year ago, while export value climbed 59% to $1.9 million.