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February Pork Exports Remain Robust; Strong Month for Beef Export Value

Fueled by growth in the Western Hemisphere, South Korea and Australia, U.S. pork exports posted another excellent performance in February, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef export volume was slightly lower year-over-year, but export value climbed by 10%.

Mexico still the pacesetter, but pork export growth widespread

February pork exports increased 14% from a year ago to 250,930 metric tons (mt), while value jumped 15% to $685.1 million. Through the first two months of 2024, exports increased 10% in both volume (502,354 mt) and value ($1.37 billion). Exports to leading market Mexico are well ahead of last year’s record pace, while shipments are also trending higher to Korea, Central and South America, Oceania and the Caribbean.

“Coming off a record value year, it’s great to see broad-based momentum for pork exports continue globally into 2024,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “While Mexico is certainly at the forefront, we are seeing excellent growth in markets like Colombia, Chile, El Salvador and the Caribbean, and demand has rebounded impressively in Korea and Australia.”

Beef export value climbs in many key regions

Beef exports reached 103,883 mt in February, down 1% from a year ago, but export value increased 10% to $830.4 million. January-February exports were also down 1% to 203,647 mt, with export value climbing 9% to $1.59 billion.

February beef exports to the Caribbean were the largest on record, while demand from Mexico and Central and South America continued to trend higher. Exports also increased year-over-year to Taiwan, and Korea posted an increase in export value.

“Tight beef supplies are definitely a challenge for exporters, and that situation isn’t going to change anytime soon,” Halstrom said. “But on a positive note, we are seeing more opportunities for underutilized beef cuts, including the round, shoulder clod and variety meat, in the global marketplace. Demand is strong throughout the Western Hemisphere and the foodservice and hospitality sectors are finally gaining some momentum in key Asian markets such as Korea, where the post-COVID recovery has been slower than anticipated.”

February lamb exports well above year-ago totals

U.S. lamb exports followed a strong January with another robust performance in February, climbing 11% from a year ago to 270 mt. Export value increased 18% to $1.5 million. Through February, lamb exports increased 19% from a year ago to 573 mt, with value up 34% to $3.2 million, led by growth in the Bahamas, the Leeward-Windward Islands and Canada. Exports to Mexico trended lower in volume but still climbed 26% in value to just under $600,000.

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

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