US pork exports are falling


April pork exports were well below the large totals posted a year ago.

Posted on Jun 16 ,13:05

US pork exports are falling

US April pork exports were 212,876 tonnes, down 21% from the large volume reported a year ago. Export value was $600.6 million, down 20%. Through April, pork exports fell 20% from a year ago to 842,804 tonnes, valued at $2.31 billion (down 18%).

“The sharp decline in China’s demand for imported pork continues to weigh heavily on the year-over-year results for U.S. exports, and the COVID lockdowns dampened demand even further by limiting consumer spending and slowing activity in the wholesale market and the meat processing sector,” Dan Halstrom, USMEF President and CEO, explained. “We do expect exports to China to regain some momentum in the fourth quarter of this year – certainly not back to the peak volumes of 2020, but improving over current levels. Meanwhile, shipments to Mexico remain on a record pace and exports to Japan and several Latin American markets trended higher in April.”

Mexico’s demand for U.S. pork continues to build on last year’s record performance. April exports reached 73,711 tonnes, up 9% from a year ago, though value slipped 2% to $139.7 million. Through April, exports to Mexico climbed 25% to 317,085 tonnes, valued at $543.9 million (up 11%). Mexico recently suspended import duties on pork muscle cuts, which could attract more product from the European Union. The EU currently holds about 2% market share in Mexico, though a substantial percentage of its exports are processed products and variety meat, which are still subject to normal duties. Canadian and Chilean pork already enter Mexico duty-free under existing trade agreements, and Brazilian pork is not eligible for export to Mexico.
After slowing in March, pork exports to Japan regained momentum in April. Export volume reached 34,682 tonnes, up 5% from a year ago and the largest since May 2021. Export value also increased 5%, reaching a 2022 high of $142.5 million. Through April, exports to Japan were still 9% below last year at 126,006 tonnes, valued at $535.1 million (down 6%). But despite major logistical challenges, Japan’s January-April imports of U.S. chilled pork increased 2% to 73,052 tonnes. Imports from Canada, the primary competitor in Japan’s chilled pork market, declined 3% to just over 68,000 tonnes.

Pork exports to the Dominican Republic were already gaining strength before African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed in July 2021, and ASF’s impact on domestic production has accelerated this trend. April exports reached a record 8,966 tonnes, up 94% from a year ago and smashing the previous (March 2022) record by 27%. April export value was a record $21.8 million, up 88% from a year ago. Through April, exports to the DR increased 25% to 27,592 tonnes, with value climbing 29% to $67.4 million. With shipments also trending higher to the Bahamas, exports to the Caribbean increased 21% in volume (32,933 tonnes) and 27% in value ($86 million).

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