Strong gains for U.S. pork in Mexico, Korea, Central and South America, Australia

January pork exports to Mexico reached 102,181 mt, up 6% from a year ago and the second largest on record, trailing only December 2023. Export value increased 8% to $207.2 million, the seventh largest on record.

After a very strong finish in 2023, January pork exports to Korea soared 53% from a year ago to 20,727 mt. Export value was up 51% to $67.6 million. This follows a remarkable performance in December, when shipments reached nearly 24,000 mt, the highest since 2019. Despite a rising presence of Canadian, Mexican and Brazilian pork in Korea, U.S. pork continues to make gains as the U.S. industry retakes market share from the European Union.

Despite lower shipments to leading market Honduras, January pork exports to Central America jumped 22% from a year ago to 11,846 mt, while value increased 29% to $35.7 million. Exports climbed significantly year-over-year to Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua.

Other January results for U.S. pork exports include:

  • Led by outstanding growth in Colombia, January pork exports to South America climbed 53% from a year ago to 11,464 mt, valued at $32.1 million (up 62%). Exports to Colombia have rebounded strongly since October 2023 and have held above 10,000 mt for each of the last four months. January shipments to Colombia increased 57% to 10,448 mt, while value soared 70% to $28.1 million. Exports to Chile increased 22% to 692 mt, valued at $2.7 million (up 26%), while shipments to Peru were up 49% in volume (122 mt) and 19% in value ($215,000).
  • Exports of U.S. pork variety meat, which were record-large in 2023, continued to perform well in January. Despite trending lower to leading destination China, variety meat shipments increased 7% from a year ago to 50,353 mt, valued at $109.3 million (down 1%). Exports increased to Mexico, the Philippines, Canada, Central and South America and Korea.
  •  Pork exports to Australia, which rebounded dramatically in 2023, continued to build momentum in January. Exports more than quadrupled from last January’s low volume, jumping 374% to 9,059 mt. Export value increased 363% to $32.8 million. U.S. pork has also retaken share from the EU in the Australian market.
  •  Exports to Malaysia, which were record-large in 2023, continued to show strength in January. Shipments were nearly 1000% larger than a year ago at 503 mt, while value increased 850% to $1.5 million.
  •  January pork shipments to Japan were the largest since August, but were down slightly year-over-year in both volume (28,216, down 1%) and value ($114.8 million, down 1%). U.S. pork faces intense competition from Canadian and Mexican chilled pork and from defrosted Spanish pork being sold at retail. The weak Japanese yen continues to cause customers to seek out the most affordable options, including Brazilian pork.
  • Pork export value equated to $60.00 per head slaughtered in January, up 4% from a year ago. Exports accounted for 28.3% of total January pork production and 24.3% for muscle cuts. These ratios were each up about one percentage point from a year ago.