DENVER — US pork exports showed double-digit increases over 2022 in both volume and value, according to data compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) from the US Department of Agriculture.

For pork exports, volume was up 11% from a year ago to 219,729 tonnes as export value reached $596 million, up 10% compared to the same month in 2022.

The category also saw a strong performance of pork variety meat exports which jumped 40% to nearly 48,000 tonnes and valued at $111.8 million up 25% and the eighth highest on record.

Through two months, total pork and pork variety meat exports increased 12% to 456,496 tonnes and valued at $1.24 billion, up 13%. USMEF said exports were on a record pace for Mexico and the Dominican Republic and trending higher year-over-year to China-Hong Kong, Central America, the ASEAN region and Taiwan. 

“After setting a value record in 2022, the momentum for pork variety meat exports continues this year,” said Dan Halstrom, president and chief executive officer of USMEF. “While this is largely attributable to a rebound in exports to China, demand is also strengthening in other markets including Mexico and the Philippines. It also reflects an improved labor situation, which has helped the US industry increase its capture rate and broaden the range of destinations for pork variety meats.”

Meanwhile, beef exports numbers were steady but still trending down from the previous year.

Total beef exports for the month of February came in at 105,057 tonnes with export volume down 3% from a year ago. The export value of beef exports for the month was $757.8 million, a decrease of 16%.

Through February, beef exports decreased 9% to 206,000 tonnes and valued at $1.46 billion, down 24%. 

USMEF said beef exports to Japan and South Korea increased slightly from 2022 even though value trended lower. Beef exports did trend higher in Mexico, the Caribbean, the European Union and South Africa.

“On the beef side, it was encouraging to see a modest rebound compared to January,” Halstrom said. “With Asian markets continuing to ease indoor mask mandates and eliminate travel restrictions, we expect to see a continued boost in restaurant traffic and foodservice demand as the year progresses.”

For February, Mexican pork exports cooled slightly from previous months at 78,226 tonnes up 6% from 2022. Export was valued at $154.7 million, which was up 31%. 

Beef exports to China/Hong Kong rebounded a little bit after a steep January decline. In February, exports topped 18,931 tonnes, a 4% decrease from 2022. Export value is also at $163.4 million down 10%. 

Pork exports to Japan through February were at 57,032 tonnes, down 3%. Value also decreased 11% to $229.7 million.

February exports of US lamb muscle cuts totaled 224 tonnes, up 26% from the low year-ago volume, while export value slightly increased to $1.23 million.