May Beef Export Value Highest in 11 Months; Pork Exports Below Year-Ago

The value of U.S. beef exports topped $900 million in May, the highest since June 2023, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports posted another solid performance in May but were below last year in both volume and value.

Japan, Mexico, Taiwan help push May beef export value over $900 million

May beef exports totaled 110,133 metric tons (mt), down 5% from a year ago but the second largest of 2024. Beef export value reached $902.4 million in May, 3% above last year and the highest in 11 months. Exports trended higher year-over-year to Japan, Mexico, the ASEAN Region, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central America – which included a record month for Guatemala. May export value was also higher for Taiwan. For January through May, beef exports followed a similar trend, increasing 5% year-over-year in value to $4.29 billion, despite a 4% decline in volume (533,578 mt).

“It has been encouraging to see demand stabilize in Japan, where U.S. beef certainly faces significant headwinds,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “The tourism boom has provided a much-needed lift for Japan’s foodservice sector, and it is a source of optimism for buyers and importers. Taiwan and the ASEAN region were also bright spots for U.S. beef in May, along with Western Hemisphere markets such as Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean.”

May pork exports below last year, but still show broad-based strength

May pork exports totaled 251,447 mt, down 4% from a year ago, valued at $715.8 million (down 2%). Shipments to leading market Mexico were below last year’s large volume but still trended higher in value. Exports increased year-over-year to South Korea, the ASEAN region, Central America and Colombia and held steady to Japan. Through the first five months of the year, pork exports were up 6% to 1.29 million mt, while export value was 7% above last year’s record pace at $3.6 billion.

“Pork shipments to Mexico trended a bit lower in May, but that’s following a record April performance,” Halstrom said. “And even at that, export value to Mexico still topped $200 million. U.S. pork also posted another great month in Korea and exports to the ASEAN region were the largest in three years. Demand also continued to strengthen in Central America and the Caribbean.”