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Another Record Month for Pork Exports to Mexico; Beef Exports Show Modest Rebound

U.S. pork exports posted another strong performance in October, led by record-large shipments to Mexico and broad-based growth elsewhere, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). October beef exports remained well below last year’s large totals but improved from September, led by stronger demand in Mexico and Taiwan.

Monster year continues for pork to Mexico; strong October rebound in Colombia

October pork exports totaled 245,345 metric tons (mt), up 3% year-over-year and the largest since June, valued at $688.2 million – down 2% from a year ago. Shipments to leading market Mexico reached new highs for both volume and value, while exports to Colombia were the largest since mid-2022 and achieved the highest value in nearly two years. October exports to Central America were among the largest on record and included record-large shipments to Guatemala. Exports also increased year-over-year to the Dominican Republic, South Korea and Oceania.

For the first 10 months of 2023, pork exports increased 9% from a year ago to 2.38 million mt, with value up 6% to $6.66 billion.

“At a time when the U.S. pork industry needs to maximize revenue, I run out of superlatives when talking about the remarkable demand we are seeing in Mexico,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Pork exports are also achieving excellent growth across the Western Hemisphere and retaking market share in the Asia-Pacific.”

Bright spots for October beef exports include Mexico, Taiwan, Central America

Beef exports totaled 104,446 mt in October, down 17% from a year ago but 6% above the low volume posted in September. Export value was $836 million, down 11% year-over-year but 5% higher than September. October exports posted significant year-over-year increases in Mexico, Central America (including a record volume for Costa Rica), Taiwan, Europe and Africa, but continued to trend lower to Japan, South Korea and China.

January-October exports of U.S. beef reached 1.08 million mt, down 13% from the record pace of 2022, while value fell 17% to $8.32 billion.

“On the beef side, economic headwinds in our largest Asian markets continue to weigh on demand, as consumers trade down to lower-priced proteins,” Halstrom said. “The recovery in Asia’s foodservice sector has been limited, but we remain hopeful that it will accelerate in 2024. Recent efforts to jump-start economic activity in these countries and address weakened currencies could also improve the business climate.”

Lamb exports trend lower in October

While achieving growth in Central America, October exports of U.S. lamb trended lower overall, falling 47% from a year ago in volume (182 mt) and 28% in value ($1.13 million). Through the first 10 months of the year, lamb exports fell 11% to 2,054 mt, while value declined 12% to $10.7 million. Exports increased to Central America (driven by growth in Costa Rica and Guatemala), Japan and the Middle East, but these results were offset by lower shipments to the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada.

A detailed summary of the January-October export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb, including market-specific highlights, is available from the USMEF website.

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