August exports of U.S. pork topped year-ago totals for the first time in 2022, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports were slightly above last August’s large volume and again topped $1 billion in value, reaching this milestone in seven out of eight months this year.
“We speak often about the importance of developing a wide range of markets for U.S. red meat, and the August export results are a great illustration of that,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Exports face significant headwinds in some key destinations, with weakened currencies topping the list. But the emphasis on broad-based growth really pays dividends in these situations, allowing the overall export picture to remain very positive. I also cannot say enough about the loyalty of our international customers, many of whom have diminished purchasing power but continue to show a strong preference for U.S. red meat.”
Pork exports led by growth in Mexico, Korea, strong variety meat demand
Pork exports reached 226,293 metric tons (mt) in August, up slightly from a year ago and the largest since November 2021, while export value climbed 4% to $659.6 million. Pork variety meat exports were the third largest on record in August at nearly 53,000 mt.
August export growth was driven by another strong performance in leading market Mexico, a continued rebound in exports to China/Hong Kong and year-over-year increases in South Korea, the Caribbean and the Philippines. For January through August, pork exports were 15% below last year at 1.72 million mt, valued at $4.9 billion (down 13%).
Widespread growth, led by China/Hong Kong, Middle East and ASEAN, bolster August beef exports
August beef exports totaled 133,832 mt, up 1% year-over-year and the second largest volume on record – trailing only May 2022. Export value was just under $1.04 billion, slightly below the then-record total achieved in August 2021, which was the first time monthly exports topped the $1 billion mark.
August beef exports to China/Hong Kong were record-large and shipments to leading value market South Korea exceeded last year’s large volume. Exports also achieved robust growth in the Middle East, Canada and the ASEAN region, which included a new record for shipments to the Philippines.
For the first eight months of 2022, beef exports increased 5% from a year ago to 1.004 million mt, valued at $8.23 billion – a remarkable 24% above last year’s record pace.
August exports of lamb muscle cuts trend lower
For the first time in 2022, exports of U.S. lamb muscle cuts were lower than a year ago at 125 mt, down 35%. Export value totaled $827,000, down just 4%. Through August, muscle cut exports increased 65% to 1,407 mt, valued at $8.54 million (up 68%). Led by the Dominican Republic, Netherlands Antilles and Bahamas, exports to the Caribbean more than doubled from a year ago to 720 mt (up 106%) and increased 88% in value to $5.2 million.
A detailed summary of the January-August export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb, including market-specific highlights, is available from the USMEF website.