DENVER — US beef exports topped $1 billion for the fifth time this year, according to data compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) from the US Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, exports of US pork remained below last year’s large totals in June, and lamb exports continued to trend higher.

“The first-half performance for US beef exports was nothing short of remarkable, especially considering the growing economic headwinds in many key markets and continued shipping and logistical challenges,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and chief executive officer. “The rebound in the global foodservice sector has provided a tremendous lift in 2022, even though it is still far from a full recovery in many Asian and European destinations. We definitely see opportunities for further growth, though inflationary pressure and the stronger US dollar continue to raise concerns about consumer spending power.”

Total beef exports for the month of June came in at 130,638 tonnes, down slightly from record volume in May but up 16% from a year ago. The export value reached $1.05 billion for beef, an increase of 31% from 2021. 

For pork exports, volume dropped 8% from a year ago to 219,131 tonnes as export value reached $649.9 million, down 7% compared to the same month last year. 

Halstrom noted that even though China’s pork production has grown, the need for different kinds of pork meat has slightly helped. 

“The decline in first-half pork exports was not unexpected, given the recovery in China’s domestic production and its reduced need for imports,” Halstrom said. “The good news is China’s hog price is up about 40% since mid-June, and we are seeing some rebound in China’s demand for pork variety meat. Meanwhile pork shipments to Mexico remain on a record-shattering pace and demand has also strengthened in recent months in markets such as Korea, Colombia and the Caribbean. In these key destinations, the gains US pork has made in the processing and retail sectors are being complemented by stronger sales in foodservice.”

Despite COVID lockdowns extending into the month of June in some of China’s largest cities, beef exports to China/Hong Kong continued to climb. June exports topped 25,270 tonnes, a 37% increase from 2021. Export value soared to $240.7 million, making China/Hong Kong the largest value destination for US beef in June.

Pork exports to leading market Mexico remained on a record pace in June, up 3% from last year to 72,361 tonnes, while value climbed 11% to $166.4 million.

Japan was the leading volume market for US beef exports, reaching 27,891 tonnes, a 12% increase. Value also increased 15% to $211.7 million.

Lamb showed June exports 56% above 2021 pace at 1,688 tonnes, which put value just under $3 million, up 84%.