USMEF: Robust pork exports in January


U.S. pork exports, which posted a strong finish in 2022, maintained momentum in January, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Posted on Mar 13 ,00:00

USMEF: Robust pork exports in January

January pork exports totaled 236,767 metric tons (mt), up 13% year-over-year, while export value climbed 16% to $643.4 million. Exports to Mexico, which finished 2022 on a remarkable run on the way to an annual record, set another volume record in January. Exports also trended significantly higher year-over-year to China/Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Honduras and the ASEAN region.

“While Mexico is certainly the pacesetter for U.S. pork exports, it’s encouraging to see such broad-based growth,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Market diversification is always a point of emphasis for the U.S. industry, and it’s more important than ever to find new opportunities for U.S. pork in both established and emerging markets.”

Fresh off a record year, pork exports to Mexico didn’t miss a beat in January. Export volume was a record 96,800 mt, up 11% from a year ago and 7% above the previous high in December 2022. January export value soared 40% to $191.2 million. Demand for U.S. pork is surging even as it faces increasing competition in Mexico, due to suspension of import duties for all eligible suppliers through the end of 2023. Mexico also recently opened to some imports from Brazil.

Pork exports to the Dominican Republic also remained strong in January, increasing 28% year-over-year to 8,185 mt, while export value jumped 67% to $23.8 million. The DR also suspended import duties from all suppliers for a portion of 2022. But with that decree now expired, the U.S. is the only major supplier with duty-free access at a time when the DR’s domestic production is struggling to overcome the impact of African swine fever (ASF).

While pork production in China has recovered from its ASF-impacted lows, demand is expected to strengthen somewhat in 2023 as importers and consumers respond to the recent removal of COVID-related restrictions and the central and provincial governments implement efforts to revive the economy. In January, pork exports to China/Hong Kong reached 46,315 mt, up 31% from the low year-ago volume, valued at $121.8 million (up 25%).

Other pork export results for January include:

  • Pork variety meat exports, which set a value record in 2022 at $1.27 billion, maintained a hot pace in January at 47,192 mt, up 34% from a year ago, while value increased 18% to $110.6 million.
  • Exports to Japan increased 8% from a year ago to 28,476 mt, the highest since September, though export value was down 2% to $115.7 million.
  • Shipments to Honduras, the largest Central American destination for U.S. pork, climbed 39% from a year ago to 4,430 mt, while value soared 64% to $11.1 million. With demand also trending higher in Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, exports to the region were up 4% in volume (9,731 mt) and 13% in value ($27.7 million).
  • Led by growth in the Philippines, exports to the ASEAN region increased 46% to 3,668 mt, valued at $12.1 million (up 58%). In the Philippines, where lower tariffs on imported pork have been extended through the end of 2023, exports totaled 3,052 mt (up 35%), valued at $10.1 million (up 51%). Exports also increased to Vietnam and Singapore.
  • Exports to Canada, which faces growing challenges in maintaining pork processing capacity, increased 19% from a year ago to 17,972 mt, valued at $67.4 million (up 7%).
  • January exports equated to $57.81 per head slaughtered, up 8% from a year ago. Exports accounted for 27.2% of total January pork production and 23.4% for muscle cuts only, up from 25.5% and 22.8%, respectively, in January 2022.

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