October exports of U.S. pork were the largest in more than a year and beef export volume also increased from a year ago, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.
Pork exports reached 238,198 metric tons in October, up 5% from a year ago and the largest since June 2021. Pork export value increased 13% to $697.3 million, the highest since May 2021. For January through October, pork exports were 12% below last year at 2.18 million mt, valued at $6.26 billion (down 8%).
USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom noted that the October pork results were bolstered by outstanding growth in variety meat exports, which set a new value record at $126.2 million. Export volume was the second largest on record at more than 55,000 mt.
“The recent rebound in pork variety meat exports is tremendous news for the U.S. industry on a few different fronts,” Halstrom said. “While exports to China have regained momentum, our ongoing efforts to diversify destinations for pork variety meats are definitely paying dividends. Larger shipments also reflect an improved labor situation at the plant level, which has helped increase the capture rate for variety meat items.”
October beef exports totaled 125,466 mt, up 8% from a year ago. Export value was $929.8 million, down 3% from the large total reported in October 2021. In the first ten months of 2022, beef export value increased 18% from last year’s record pace to reach $10.05 billion – topping $10 billion in a single year for only the second time. January-October export volume was 1.25 million mt, up 4% from a year ago.
“The October results were remarkable considering the headwinds facing U.S. beef, especially in our large Asian markets,” Halstrom said. “Key currencies such as the Japanese yen and Korean won had sunk to their lowest levels in decades versus the U.S. dollar, which obviously affected importers’ buying power. COVID lockdowns in China were also a concerning factor, especially for buyers in the food service sector. But despite all that, U.S. beef still performed very well in Asia and achieved solid growth in North America and the Middle East. With some recent improvement in exchange rates, beef exports are well-positioned to surpass last year’s records.”
Exports of U.S. lamb muscle cuts edged higher year-over-year in October at 202 mt, up 18%. Export value totaled $1.26 million, also up 18%. Through October, lamb muscle cut exports increased 67% to 1,878 mt, valued at $11.11 million (up 60%). This growth has been driven mainly by the Caribbean, led by the Netherlands Antilles, Dominican Republic and Bahamas. But in October, exports were bolstered by larger shipments to Canada and Taiwan.
Complete January-October export results for U.S. pork, beef and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics web page.