2023 Sets New Records in Pork Exports

2023 Sets New Records in Pork Exports

Pork exports experienced a remarkable surge in December 2023, contributing to a historic year for the industry. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) reported a remarkable 10% increase from the previous year, reaching a substantial 268,399 metric tons (mt). This achievement marked the highest volume since May 2021 and secured the eighth position in the all-time record list. Notably, Mexico emerged as a pivotal market, showcasing record-breaking figures in both volume and value.

The robust performance in December propelled the total export value for 2023 to an unprecedented $8.16 billion, reflecting a notable 6% increase from 2022. The export volume reached 2.91 million mt, demonstrating an 8% year-over-year growth and ranking as the third-largest on record.

Key Highlights:

  1. Pork Variety Meat Exports: Pork variety meat exports saw a significant 9% year-over-year increase, totaling 585,806 mt and valued at $1.37 billion, a 7% rise. China maintained its position as the primary destination for variety meat shipments, receiving 335,591 mt.
  2. South Korea: December pork exports to South Korea witnessed an impressive 64% growth compared to the previous year, reaching 23,912 mt—the highest in over four years. The export value for December surged by 69% to $81.9 million, marking the highest in more than five years and the third-highest on record. The strong December results contributed to a 9% increase in 2023 exports, reaching 191,262 mt—the third-largest on record. Export value increased by 4% to $633.4 million, ranking as the second-highest on record.
  3. Export Value per Head: December pork export value amounted to $70.74 per head slaughtered, indicating a 6% year-over-year increase and standing as the third-highest on record. The annual average for 2023 set a new record at $63.76 per head, up 4% from 2022.
  4. Variety Meat Export Value: Pork variety meat export value reached a record $11.09 per head slaughtered, a notable 9% increase from 2022. In December, exports accounted for 31.9% of total pork production, with 28% attributed to muscle cuts.

Despite the record-breaking year, industry analysts are anticipating a potential slowdown in global pork production in 2024. The Rabobank Pork Quarterly report suggests a contraction in the sow herd globally, affecting production in China, the United States, and certain European nations. Challenges such as disease pressures from viruses like African swine fever are expected to impact the industry in the coming year. However, the prospects of lower feed prices and increased pork consumption amid declining inflation could contribute to a modest improvement in global pork consumption in 2024, according to Rabobank analysts.