WASHINGTON – US beef exports recorded the highest value in May, topping $900 million, the highest since June 2023, according to data released by the US Department of Agriculture and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Driven by strong performance in Japan, Mexico and Taiwan, May beef exports totaled 110,133 tonnes, down 5% from 2023 but the second largest of 2024, USMEF said. Beef export value reached $902.4 million in May, 3% above a year ago and the highest in 11 months. Exports trended higher year-over-year to Japan, Mexico, the ASEAN Region, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Central America — which included a record month for Guatemala. May export value was also higher for Taiwan. For January through May, beef exports followed a similar trend, increasing 5% year-over-year in value to $4.29 billion, despite a 4% decline in volume (533,578 tonnes).

“It has been encouraging to see demand stabilize in Japan, where US beef certainly faces significant headwinds,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and chief executive officer. “The tourism boom has provided a much-needed lift for Japan’s foodservice sector, and it is a source of optimism for buyers and importers. Taiwan and the ASEAN region were also bright spots for US beef in May, along with Western Hemisphere markets such as Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean.”

Pork exports in May declined 4% compared to a year ago to total 251,447 tonnes and valued at $715.8 million (down 2%).

“Pork shipments to Mexico trended a bit lower in May, but that’s following a record April performance,” Halstrom said. “And even at that, export value to Mexico still topped $200 million. US pork also posted another great month in Korea and exports to the ASEAN region were the largest in three years. Demand also continued to strengthen in Central America and the Caribbean.”

Data from the period show shipments to leading market Mexico were below last year’s large volume but still trended higher in value. Pork exports increased year-over-year to South Korea, the ASEAN region, Central America and Colombia and held steady to Japan. Through the first five months of the year, pork exports advanced 6% to 1.29 million tonnes, while export value was 7% above last year’s record pace at $3.6 billion.

US lamb exports trended higher in May totaling 251 tonnes, up 78% from the low year-ago volume, while export value jumped 66% to $1.3 million. For January through May, lamb exports increased 11% from a year ago to 1,294 tonnes, while value climbed 25% to $7.2 million. USMEF said growth was driven primarily by the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada, but shipments also increased to the Philippines and Taiwan.