Total pork exports for the month increased by 11% in volume year-on-year, to 192,924 metric tons (mt), and 26% in value to $596m. Volumes of beef exported increase 15% to 99,297mt - increasing 24% in value to $537.4m.
Pork exports for UMSEF’s top volume market, Mexico, were up 42% in value, helping to support record ham prices, while Japan set a new monthly record of 48,507mt - up 38% in volume.
For beef, Hong Kong increased volumes by 99% to 11,419mt, while Japan was the top destination for US beef in April, importing 20,614mt - down 4% in volume, but with value holding steady at $130.6m.
According to USMEF, higher prices commanded in the global market had driven up per-head export values for US beef and pork.
For the year to date (January - April), pork exports increased 11% in volume and 14% in value to 776,601mt and $2.25bn, respectively.
Beef exports for the first four months of the year increased 10% in volume to 376,377mt, at a value of $2.05bn (+17%).
Philip Seng, president and chief executive of USMEF, said: "Even with a plentiful supply of EU pork products in the marketplace and large volumes of Australian beef, we are still seeing demand grow in most of our key markets and remain steady in others.
"It is encouraging to see solid growth in sales to markets where the US industry has made the biggest commitment in resources. A good example would be Korea, where export volumes have struggled since 2012 but, as Korea’s domestic supply levels of beef and pork normalise, we are seeing a robust rebound in demand for US products."
Lamb exports to Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada - its top three markets - continued their decline, down 25% in volume to 927mt, and down 10% in value (£2.3m) for the month.