Growth in Japan, Korea and the Caribbean strengthens US pork exports

Pork exports are once again led by Mexico

November 24, 2022

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4 minute read

September pork exports were once again led by Mexico, although shipments fell below year-ago volume for the first time since early 2021, according to a report from the US Meat Export Federation. During the first three quarters of the year, exports to Mexico remained at a record pace at 696,802 metric tons, up 12% from a year ago, while value increased 15% to $1.42 billion . Demand was supported by a very stable Mexican peso, which held relatively steady from year-ago levels against the US dollar.

Pork exports to Japan rebounded in September to 31,008 tons, up 7% from a year ago, while the value rose 1% to $130 million. These totals were achieved despite the historic devaluation of the yen, which raised the cost of Japanese imports of all commodities, including food and energy. From January to September, exports to Japan were 8% lower on last year’s pace at 276,294 tons, while the value fell 10% to $1.15 billion.

September pork exports to South Korea were up 40% from last year’s low volume to 12,284 tons, while value increased 39% to $43.1 million. That pushed January-September totals to 132,971 tons, up 4% from a year ago, while value increased 11% to $467.2 million. Korea recently opened a 70,000-tonne duty-free quota for imported pork, but the competitive landscape hasn’t changed dramatically as imports from the United States, the European Union and Chile already enter Korea at zero duty. The move benefited primarily Canadian pork, which is priced at 8.6% for chilled and 9.6% for frozen. Mexico and Brazil are also present in the Korean pork market, with imports normally subject to Korea’s most favored nation (MFN) rate of 25%, but eligible for duty-free entry within the quota.

Other January-September findings for U.S. pork exports include:

  • Demand for US pork, especially pork, continues to pick up momentum in China/Hong Kong. September exports to the region totaled 51,036 tons, up 12% from a year ago, while the value of exports rose 18% to $122.5 million. Most of the increase was in variety meats, which reached 33,113 tons, down from the record total reached in August but still up 17% from a year ago. September muscle-cut exports increased by 3% to 17,923 tons. From January to September, total exports to China/Hong Kong were 40% lower than last year at 374,458 tonnes, with variety meats accounting for 62% of the volume. The value fell 33% to $972.6 million.
  • Driven by record shipments to the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and the Leeward and Windward Islands, pork exports to the Caribbean recorded a record pace through September at 71,147 tonnes, a 32% increase from a year ago. worth $197.8 million (+36%). Exports to the DR reached 5,609 mt in September, up 34% from a year ago and the highest since June. January-September exports to the Dominican Republic totaled 58,638 tons, up 38% from a year ago, while the value increased 40% to $152.9 million. The DR suspended import duties on red meat and poultry in June, which increased competition in the pork market, mainly from Canada, but imports of British, Spanish and Chilean pork also increased. The decree suspending the RD import tariffs is expected to expire in December, which will subject imports from these suppliers to the 25% MFN rate and the US will again be the only major pork supplier with duty-free access to the DR.
  • Pork exports to Colombia are also at a record pace in 2022. September shipments to Colombia were up 9% from a year ago to 8,625 tonnes, while value increased 10% to 22.6 million of dollars. Through September, exports surpassed last year’s pace by 10% by volume (78,127 tons) and 9% by value ($185.6 million).
  • September pork exports to the ASEAN region reached 4,380 tons, up 25% from a year ago, while the value increased 42% to $12.6 million. The Philippines accounted for most of this growth, but exports to Vietnam also increased. From January to September, exports to the region were still 50% lower than last year at 39,812 tons, valued at $115.2 million (-45%).
  • Led by strengthening demand in China/Hong Kong, global US pork exports totaled 48,202 tonnes in September, up 8% from a year ago, while the value of exports increased 5% to 105, 9 million dollars. Apart from China/Hong Kong, September exports increased yoy to Philippines, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Korea, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Through September, pork variety meat exports fell 9% in volume (370,961 tons) and 5% in value ($904.9 million) last year.
  • The value of pork exports in September was $62.37 per head slaughtered, up 10% from a year ago. The January-September average was $59.74 per capita, down 7%. Exports accounted for 27.3% of total September pork production, up from 26.9% a year ago, while the ratio for muscle cuts remained flat year on year at 23.1% . The January-September ratios were 26.9% and 23.4%, down from 30% and 26.4% respectively in the first nine months of 2021.

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