Pork exports continued to be strong as 2022 ended and 2023 began.
Shipments were well above year-ago numbers, according to data released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Export totals reached nearly 237 metric tons (mt), up 13% from 2022, while values jumped to $643.4 million, up 16% from a year ago.
Mexico imported record-large shipments, while numbers to China/Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Honduras and the ASEAN region were also very good.
“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.”
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While U.S. beef exports broke records in 2022, those numbers slowed late in the year. This trend continued in January, as shipments were well below the large totals from a year ago.
Beef exports declined to several major destinations in January, though shipments increased sharply to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Africa. January volume fell 15% from a year ago to 100,942 mt, while exports were valued at $702.3 million, down 32%.
Beef inventories swelled in some key markets near the end of last year, contributing to a challenging environment for U.S. exports.
“While beef exports are off to a slow start in 2023, we remain optimistic that post-COVID food service demand will strengthen in additional markets as the year progresses,” Halstrom said.
January beef exports were down substantially in most Asian destinations compared to the large year-ago totals. The decline was especially sharp in South Korea, where volume dipped 36% to 18,896 mt and value fell 52% to $151.5 million. Korea is coming off a record year in which exports set an all-time record value for any single destination, reaching $2.7 billion.
The decline was less pronounced in Japan, where January exports were down 2% to 22,456 mt, with value falling 20% to $144.9 million.