WASHINGTON – September data released by the US Dept. of Agriculture and complied by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) showed that US pork exports remained on a record pace. Beef export numbers show a fairly steady position, but are trending lower overall compared to 2019.

Pork exports were at 222,475 tonnes for September. Pork value increased 6% to $563.2 million. For the first nine months of the year, pork exports remained on a record pace, up 16% in volume to 2.22 million tonnes and valued at $5.69 billion.

Pork muscle cuts were even stronger and jumped 22% in volume to 1.87 tonnes and valued at $4.93 billion, an increase of 19%.

Pork export value averaged $51.07 per head slaughtered in September, up 2% from a year ago, while the January-September average increased 14% to $58.63.

Exports accounted for 26.5% of total September pork production in September and 23.9% for muscle cuts only which is up from 25.1% and 21.7%, respectively. Through September, exports accounted for 29.6% of total production and 26.9% for muscle cuts, up from the 2019 ratios of 26.3% and 22.8%.

In September, beef numbers remained low, which was consistent with numbers throughout the year. 

Beef exports for September decreased 6% from 2019 to 103,277 tonnes. Export value also fell by 9% to $600.9 million. During the last nine months, beef exports showed an 8% volume decrease compared to 2019 at 911,936 tonnes and 9% less in value at $5.55 billion.

September beef exports accounted for 12.8% of total production and 10.5% for beef muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 11.9% in 2019. Beef exports made up 13.2% of the nine-month beef production and 11% for muscle cuts only. Both are down from14.3% and 11.6%, respectively, from 2019.

“Although restaurant traffic and foodservice activity are not back to normal in most Asian markets, USMEF is very encouraged by the recovery in Asia and this was especially evident in the strong August and September exports of US beef to South Korea, Taiwan and China,” said Dan Halstrom, president and chief executive officer of USMEF. “As we close out the year, US beef has a great opportunity to capture greater market share in Asia due to tightening supplies from Australia. While it will require more time, we also expect US beef to regain momentum in regions where beef demand depends more heavily on travel and tourism, and where e-commerce channels are not as well-developed.”

USMEF said China and Hong Kong continued to stand strong in September and lead in pork shipments. Exports for the month reached 62,791 tonnes, up 23% from a year ago, valued at $132 million (up 14%).

Through September, exports to China and Hong Kong continued a strong pace at 800,747 tonnes (up 96%), valued at $1.83 billion (up $120%).

“Exporting countries are watching the hog production recovery in China very closely, because we know its demand for imported pork is moderating,” Halstrom said. “While USMEF is pleased to see US pork exports to China/Hong Kong maintaining a strong pace, it is vitally important that our export destinations remain diversified. The US industry continues to pursue this goal aggressively, both in the Asia Pacific region and the Western Hemisphere."

For second month in a row, September Mexico pork exports went up 2% to 47,898 tonnes. However, when adding variety meat, September exports were down 2% at 55,340 tonnes, valued at $88.8 million and down 9%.

For beef exports, Japan was up slightly from 2019 at 24,160 tonnes but fell 4% to $142.5 million.

Through the first nine months, exports decreased by 3% in volume (233,730 tonnes) and value ($1.47 billion).

September lamb exports were lower than the previous few months, but totaled 1,971 tonnes, a 37% increase in volume. Value was 13% higher at ($2 million).