Pork exports in May 2023 were the highest they have been since May 2022, according to USDA data and an analysis from the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Those numbers were reached in large part due to another outstanding month in Mexico and robust demand for variety meat. While well below the record-large volume and value posted in May 2022, beef exports improved from April and were the second largest (behind March) of 2023.
According to the USDA, May pork exports reached 261,361 metric tons (mt), up 16% from a year ago, the ninth largest on record and the largest since May 2021. Export value climbed 12% to $731.1 million, also the highest since May 2021 and the seventh highest on record.
Pork variety meat exports were outstanding in May, setting a value record of $127 million.
May pork exports to Mexico were well above last year. Shipments to Taiwan were the largest in 12 years and export value to South Korea reached a five-year high, according to the USMEF. Exports were also significantly higher to Australia, Central America and Malaysia.
Through the first five months of the year, pork and pork variety meat exports were 14% above last year’s pace at 1.22 million mt, valued at $3.35 billion (up 13%).
“While pork shipments to Mexico are on a remarkable pace, it takes a wide range of markets to achieve double-digit growth,” explained Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Demand is strong throughout the Western Hemisphere and the U.S. industry continues to make gains in Asian markets where supplies of European pork are much tighter than a year ago.”
Beef exports totaled 116,159 mt, down 14% from the May 2022 record but up 4% from the previous month. Export value was $874.7 million, down 19% year-over-year but 2% above April.
The USMEF says May exports strengthened to Mexico, Taiwan and South Africa, and export value to Canada was the highest in nearly eight years. Beef variety meat exports were the largest in 12 months at just under 27,000 mt.