May Pork Exports Show Broad-Based Strength Despite Slight Decline

In May, U.S. pork exports exhibited broad-based strength, even though there was a slight decline in comparison to the previous year. The exports to Mexico, the leading market, totaled 91,338 metric tons (mt), which is a 6% decrease from the previous year. However, the export value increased by 2%, reaching $201.9 million. For the first five months of 2024, exports to Mexico have been impressive, totaling 480,193 mt, up 7% from the previous year, with a 14% increase in value to $1.02 billion. Mexico continues to be a significant market for hams and other pork cuts, particularly for further processing, and has seen a rise in demand within the retail and foodservice sectors.

Exports to South Korea demonstrated robust growth, totaling 22,354 mt in May, a 6% increase from a year ago, with the value rising 8% to $78.9 million. From January to May, exports to Korea surged by 35% in volume to 118,092 mt and 40% in value to $395.4 million. The growing appetite of Korean consumers for convenient, easy-to-prepare pork products has bolstered these exports.

Central America also saw a notable increase, with May exports rising 11% to 11,711 mt and the value climbing 26% to $37.8 million. This growth was driven by significant increases in exports to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and El Salvador. From January to May, exports to Central America increased by 25% in volume to 64,161 mt and 35% in value to $196.8 million.

In the ASEAN region, May exports reached 9,235 mt, a 41% increase from a year ago, driven by larger shipments to the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. This included record-high variety meat exports to the Philippines, totaling 4,483 mt. Year-to-date exports to the ASEAN region increased by 17% to 31,715 mt, valued at $67.7 million.

Colombia also exhibited strong growth, with May exports increasing by 55% to 9,653 mt and the value soaring 63% to $26.6 million. From January to May, exports to Colombia reached 49,315 mt, up 46%, with the value rising 58% to $135.3 million.

While exports to Oceania were below last year’s levels, they remained robust, with May shipments at 9,353 mt, valued at $32.8 million. From January to May, exports to the region increased by 64% to 46,574 mt, with the value climbing 63% to $165.6 million.

In Japan, May exports held steady at 30,010 mt, with a slight 1% decrease in value to $121.9 million. From January to May, exports to Japan were down slightly to 153,052 mt, but the value remained steady at $618.2 million.

Exports of pork variety meat in May increased slightly to 51,957 mt, with the value strong at $110.8 million, though down 13% from last year’s record high. From January to May, variety meat exports climbed 4% to 257,431 mt, but the value fell 5% to $557.4 million due to lower unit values for certain cuts.

Overall, May pork exports equated to $67.64 per head slaughtered, down 2% from a year ago, but the January-May average increased by 5% to $66.54. Exports accounted for 30.7% of total May pork production and 26.2% for muscle cuts, slightly down from the previous year. However, January-May exports accounted for 30.7% of total production and 26.5% for muscle cuts, each up by about one percentage point from the same period last year.

This broad-based strength in pork exports underscores the resilience and growing demand for U.S. pork products across various global markets.

For more detailed information, visit the USMEF press release.