USMEF: Beef exports lose momentum, pork stays steady

DENVER — September US pork exports were down slightly from last year but maintained a robust pace, according to data released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Pork exports reached 221,140 tonnes in September, a 1% drop from a year ago, while export value fell 4% to $643.7 million. Export value to Mexico increased 18% year-over-year to $207.6 million, which was the third highest month on record. Exports to Central America and Australia improved significantly and those to the Caribbean, Taiwan, New Zealand, Vietnam and Malaysia trended higher.

For the first three quarters of 2023, pork exports increased 9% year-over-year to 2.13 million tonnes and climbed 7% in value to just under $6 billion, led by record-large shipments to Mexico.

“Pork exports achieving another $200 million month in Mexico is fantastic,” said Dan Halstrom, president and chief executive officer of USMEF. “But the good news doesn’t end there, as growth in regions such as Central America, the Caribbean and Oceania helped offset lower shipments to China and Japan.”

September beef exports totaled 98,757 tonnes, down 15% from last year and the lowest of 2023, while value fell 12% to $795.5 million. Although exports were lower across the board to major Asian destinations, they gained momentum in Mexico, Canada, Central America, Colombia and Africa.

Through the first nine months, beef exports dipped 13% below last year’s record pace in volume to 980,100 tonnes and 18% in value to $7.49 billion.

“US beef continues to face tough sledding in our Asian markets, where weakness in major currencies persist and consumer confidence remains guarded,” Halstrom said. “In the past few weeks, we have seen several Asian trading partners step up efforts to stimulate their economies and ease pressure on consumers. In the meantime, bright spots for US beef continue to emerge in the Western Hemisphere, led by strong demand in Mexico.”

September lamb exports dropped 9% from a year ago to 245 tonnes, while export value fell 11% to $1.17 million. Exports trended higher to the Caribbean, including increases to Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and the Leeward-Windward Islands, but were lower to Mexico and Canada.