DENVER – US pork and beef exports in November reached their highest monthly volumes in more than two years, according to the US Meat Export Federation.

Pork exports totaled 177,203 metric tons valued at $443.4 million -- increases of 5% in volume and 15% in value over November 2009. For January through November, exports were up 2% in volume (1.73 million metric tons) and 10% in value ($4.34 billion). The cumulative value total is just 4% below the all-time record pace set in the first 11 months of 2008.

Exports for the year accounted for 23.6%of production with a per-head value equivalent of $43.61 ($44.80 in November alone). For the same period in 2009, exports equated to 22.5% of production with a per-head value of $38.42. In the record export year of 2008, the per-head value was $42.30.

Beef export value in November was $389.5 million, an increase of nearly 50% over November 2009. By volume (101,323 metric tons), beef exports exceeded the year-ago level by 32%. For the first 11 months of 2010, exports were 18% above 2009 in terms of volume (964,369 metric tons) and 30% higher by value ($3.67 billion). The value total is about 1% ahead of the 2003 pace when beef exports went on to set a single-year record of $3.86 billion.

January-November exports to Japan, the leading value destination for US pork, broke the $1.5 billion mark for the third-consecutive year, exceeding the previous year's pace by 6%. In terms of volume (397,528 metric tons), exports to Japan are up 2%. Mexico is the leading volume destination at 491,314 metric tons -- up 9% and just short of the single-year record. Export value to Mexico has already set a new record of $890.6 million.

Exports to Australia set a new single-year record in both volume (48,673 metric tons, up 8%) and value $136.9 million (up 27%).

US beef exports performed extremely well in all major markets throughout 2010, with the exception of Mexico -- the largest foreign destination for US beef. But November signaled a positive turnaround for beef exports to Mexico, exceeding year-ago levels by 13% in volume (13,647 metric tons) and more than 30% in value ($79.6 million). For the year, exports to Mexico remain lower by 16% in volume (224,146 metric tons) and 12% in value ($735.5 million).

South Korea remains the fourth-largest market for US beef, but export growth in Korea has been remarkable. US exports to South Korea have more than doubled in volume (101,252 metric tons) and grown by 152% in value to $468.7 million.

Exports to Russia more than doubled in volume (54,987 metric tons) and nearly quadrupled in value to a record $147.3 million. Russia has maintained its strong demand for US beef variety meat but has also shown a surging appetite for muscle cuts.

For the fifth consecutive year, Taiwan has set a value record for imports of US beef. But in 2010, the new mark is particularly impressive. With one month remaining, exports to Taiwan have already reached $192.7 million. The previous record (2009) was $141.1 million. The addition of high-quality bone-in cuts, allowed for the first time since 2003 and marketed aggressively by USMEF, contributed to the strong growth in Taiwan.