… Pork exports totaled 225,822 mt in August, up 4% from a year ago… For January through August, exports were 1.5% above last year…



Pork Exports Remain on Record Pace


Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF)

Oct 6, 2021 


Pork exports totaled 225,822 mt in August, up 4% from a year ago, and value increased 20% to $633.9 million as record shipments to Mexico and strong growth in several other markets helped offset the expected slowdown in muscle cut exports to China. For January through August, exports were 1.5% above last year at just over 2 million mt, while value climbed 10% to $5.62 billion.


“The August export results would be impressive under any circumstances, but achieving these totals despite all the COVID-related obstacles at home and overseas is truly remarkable,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Our transportation and labor situation is challenging, and customers continue to face an uncertain business climate due to foodservice restrictions and other economic headwinds. Yet international buyers remain committed to the quality and consistency delivered by U.S. red meat, and the U.S. industry has gone to tremendous lengths to keep shipments moving.”


Halstrom emphasized the broad-based growth achieved in 2021, noting that it bodes well for both near and long-term exports.


Record exports to Mexico, variety meat demand in China drive strong pork results


August pork exports to Mexico were record-large at 80,779 mt, up 47% from a year ago and narrowly outpacing the previous record set in December 2016). Export value more than doubled to $162.4 million (up 109%). Through August, exports to Mexico were 25% above last year at 543,550 mt, with value climbing 56% to $1.1 billion. Exports are on a record pace, with January-August shipments 4% higher in volume and 12% higher in value when compared to 2017, the peak year for pork exports to Mexico.


While China’s swine herd recovery has caused pork muscle cut exports to moderate in 2021, China’s demand for U.S. pork variety meat remains extremely strong and continues to play a key role in maximizing carcass value. Through August, pork variety meat exports to China/Hong Kong increased 23% to 231,283 mt, valued at $558 million (up 29%). With pork variety meat shipments also trending higher to Mexico, Southeast Asia, Central and South America and Oceania, export value is on a record pace at $848.8 million, up 26% from a year ago and 11% ahead of the peak year of 2017.


Following a record performance in 2020, pork exports to Central America continue to reach new heights. August exports totaled 10,446 mt, up 35% from a year ago, while value increased 71% to $28.7 million. January-August exports increased to all markets in the region, led by outstanding growth in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Through August, exports climbed 46% from a year ago to 87,437 mt, valued at $232.1 million (up 60%).


Other January-August highlights for U.S. pork exports include:


·         Pork exports to Japan trended higher in August (32,837 mt, up 9%), with value climbing 16% to $143.7 million. Through August, exports to Japan were 7% ahead of last year’s pace at 271,880 mt, valued at $1.15 billion (up 8%). Japan’s imports of U.S. chilled pork were up 6% from a year ago, totaling 140,900 mt.

·         Following a down year in 2020, pork exports to Colombia continue to stage a strong rebound. January-August exports increased 53% from a year ago to 90,674 mt, with value up 67% to $149 million. Compared to the pre-COVID levels of 2019, exports to Colombia were still 5% lower in volume but achieved 3% growth in value.

·         Although down from recent months, August pork exports to South Korea were still 10% higher than a year ago at 9,872 mt, while value increased 40% to $36.4 million. Fueled in part by strong demand for chilled pork, January-August exports to Korea increased 6% from a year ago to 119,679 mt, with value climbing 20% to $388.1 million. Korea’s imports of U.S. chilled pork totaled 6,635 mt through August, up 195% from a year ago.

·         Pork demand continues to build momentum in the Dominican Republic, where recent findings of African swine fever are impacting domestic production. August exports nearly doubled to 4,884 mt, with value jumping 140% to $13.9 million. This pushed January-August exports 44% above last year at 38,226 mt, valued at $97.1 million (up 62% from a year ago and 30% above the record pace of 2018).

·         August pork export value equated to $59.74 per head slaughtered, up 26% from a year ago. Through August, per-head export value averaged $66.14, up 11%. Exports accounted for 28.3% of total August pork production and 24.3% for muscle cuts, up from 25.9% and 23.1%, respectively, in August 2020. Through August, exports accounted for 30.9% of total production, up from 30% in 2020, while the ratio of muscle cuts exported remained steady at 27.3%.


Surge in demand from China helps fuel huge month for U.S. beef exports …


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