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US beef exports continue to sour, pork exports trend lower

Coming off a record-breaking performance in 2021, US beef exports remained red-hot in January, according to data released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation. Pork exports continued to trend lower in January, despite another outstanding month for exports to leading market Mexico.

Wide range of markets fuel another $1 billion month for beef exports
Beef exports totaled 119,066 metric tons, up 13% from a year ago, while value soared 57% to $1.03 billion. This was the third-highest value total on record – trailing only August and November of last year – and export value per head of fed slaughter set a new record, exceeding $500 for the first time. Export value to South Korea set a new record – topping $300 million – and strong year-over-year increases were achieved in China/Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, the Caribbean and Central America.

“This is a truly remarkable run for US beef exports, and the momentum is not limited to our large Asian markets,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Regions such as Central America and the Caribbean contributed significantly to January export growth, and export value made strong gains in the Middle East.”

Strong pork exports to Mexico, but global shipments trend lower
January pork exports totaled 208,808 mt, down 16% from a year ago, while export value fell 14% to $555.6 million. Exports to Mexico were outstanding, up 36% from a year ago to more than 87,000 mt. Exports to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador also continued to gain momentum and export value to Korea jumped significantly, but shipments to most other markets were below last year.

As expected, the continued rebound in China’s pork production has slowed demand for US pork, but Halstrom also noted the impact of additional headwinds.

“We have spoken often over the past year about port congestion and other logistical challenges, and shipping costs are heavily impacting the US pork industry’s ability to serve certain markets,” he says. “Australia, for example, has been a very reliable destination for US hams for further processing, but shipping raw material to Oceania is becoming cost-prohibitive. The low price of European pork is also impacting demand in other further-processing markets such as Southeast Asia and Taiwan. This underscores the importance of our Western Hemisphere markets, where the US industry continues to pursue new strategies for increasing pork consumption and expanding demand. It is also a reminder that the US industry must continue to strive for market diversification, so we are well-prepared for shifts in the competitive landscape.”

Lamb exports trend higher, led by strong demand in Mexico
January exports of US lamb totaled 1,533 mt, up 49% from a year ago, while export value climbed 59% to $1.9 million. Variety meat exports to the leading market Mexico accounted for $1.3 million of the value total, a year-over-year increase of 73% and a new monthly record. Lamb muscle cut exports were higher year-over-year to Mexico, the Caribbean and Panama.

A detailed summary of the January red meat export results, including market-specific highlights, is available from the USMEF website.

Source: US Meat Export Federation, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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