US pork exports from November totalled a staggering 225,757 tonnes (t), up by 24% on the previous year, according to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics compiled by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).
Pork exports for the month soared to $586m, the highest monthly monetary value since May 2014, with Mexico regaining its appetite for US pork after a summer of foreign exchange volatility saw trade stagnate.
USMEF first reported the tide was turning for stagnant pork exports in October and new data covering November published this week reinforced the belief that trade to Mexico was once again growing. The meat board is hopeful the rise in trade to Mexico can lead to a fifth consecutive year of export volume growth.
November exports to Mexico came to 73,984t, up 21% year-on-year. Value increased by nearly a third (32%) with trade worth $139.2m. USMEF called Mexico a “powerful pacesetter”, but added there were positive results elsewhere for US pork too.
While trade to Japan is still lower on a year-on-year basis, November exports continued to grow in both volume and value, up by 24% (37,317t) and 35% ($153.4m) respectively.
Exports for November were up in China and Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Honduras, Guatemala and Chile.
The strong rise in pork exports to a number of countries comes at a time when domestic production is booming in the US. In the face of rising production – in other words, more pork on the market – the exports are still accounting for a burgeoning share of production. USMEF estimates that pork export volume accounts for 28% of total national production, meaning the ratio of US-produced pork destined for exports has increased by nearly a quarter (24%) year-on-year.
With more pork now produced by the US, the country faces a big challenge to shift the supplies efficiently and, crucially, profitably. Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO, said the challenge created an opportunity for the industry.
“With aggressive and well-targeted international marketing efforts, this [rise in production] also presents an outstanding opportunity to grow our market share in established export destinations and cultivate new opportunities in emerging markets.”