Understanding The Highlights of The U.S. Meat Export Trends: Pork Exports Surge, Beef Takes a Breather

Understanding The Highlights of The U.S. Meat Export Trends: Pork Exports Surge, Beef Takes a Breather

Feb 13, 2024Jason Fischer

At Rowe Beef, we believe in keeping you informed about the latest developments in the meat industry to ensure you have access to the best products on the market. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the recent export data released by the USDA, shedding light on the current trends in the U.S. meat industry, focusing on pork and beef exports. Understanding these trends is crucial not only for industry insiders but also for consumers who want to make informed choices about their meat purchases.

Pork Exports on the Rise: Back in July, It marked another strong month for U.S. pork exports, with figures exceeding those from the previous year. According to data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the U.S. exported a total of 219,014 metric tons of pork in July, a remarkable 5% increase compared to the previous year. The export value also showed a modest 1% increase, reaching $628.7 million.

 One of the standout factors in this report is the record-breaking exports to Mexico, which continued their impressive pace. Additionally, July saw significant year-over-year increases in shipments to Central America, Taiwan, Oceania, the ASEAN region, and even our own Canadian market.

 Taking a broader perspective, the first seven months of 2023 have seen a remarkable 13% increase in pork exports compared to the previous year. In terms of value, these exports reached an impressive $4.67 billion, reflecting a 10% increase. An essential part of this growth has been the surge in shipments of pork variety meat, which were up by 28% from the previous year, reaching 345,070 metric tons and a value of $812.7 million, an increase of 19%.

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom highlighted the importance of market diversification for the U.S. pork industry, emphasizing that while exports to certain Asian markets declined, the industry’s focus on Western Hemisphere markets and the Asia-Pacific region is paying off, ensuring consistent export growth.

Beef Exports Facing Challenges: While pork exports continue to soar, the story is somewhat different for U.S. beef exports. July saw a decline in beef exports, with the lowest volume recorded since January. Beef exports in July totaled 103,167 metric tons, marking an 18% decrease from the previous year. Export value also took a hit, declining by 19% to $810.4 million, the lowest since February.

 Despite these challenges, there were positive notes, such as year-over-year gains in exports to Mexico, Taiwan, Canada, Hong Kong, Africa, Peru, and Honduras. However, the top three destinations for U.S. beef—South Korea, Japan, and China—reported lower figures compared to the previous year.

 For the first seven months of 2023, beef exports were 11% lower in volume (772,343 metric tons) and 19% lower in value ($5.81 billion) compared to the previous year. Dan Halstrom, President and CEO of USMEF, attributed these challenges to limited supplies and ongoing difficulties in key Asian markets.

 Halstrom remains optimistic, anticipating a broader foodservice rebound in Asia in the near future. He also highlighted the sustained demand for alternative beef cuts in Taiwan and the continued momentum in Mexico as positive indicators. Importantly, per-head export value remains high, demonstrating the resilience of international markets even in the face of lower production levels.

Lamb Exports Show Promise: July brought some positive news for U.S. lamb exports. Despite a slow second quarter, lamb muscle cut exports rebounded with a 22% year-over-year increase, reaching 197 metric tons—the highest figure since March. Export value reached $928,000, down just 2% from the previous year but the highest since April. For the first seven months of the year, lamb exports were only 1% below the previous year’s pace at 1,264 metric tons, with a value of $7.3 million—a 6% decrease. Promising markets for lamb included Mexico, Canada, the Netherlands Antilles, Panama, and Guatemala.

Conclusion: In summary, the latest export data from the U.S. meat industry shows that pork exports continue to surge, driven by diversification into various markets, while beef faces challenges, primarily due to supply limitations and market complexities in key Asian destinations. Lamb exports are showing signs of recovery, offering hope for the future.

At Rowe Beef, we remain committed to providing you with top-quality meat products, and understanding these industry trends allows us to make informed decisions about our offerings. Stay tuned for more updates on the meat industry as we continue to keep you informed and provide you with the best meat products available.

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