Pork exports strong in August

Pork exports strong in August

U.S. pork exports posted the highest monthly values of 2016 in August, according to statistics released this week by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Pork exports were up 16 percent from a year ago to 186,689 mt, the largest volume ever posted in August. Export value was up 19 percent to $512.76 million. For January through August, pork export volume was 1.48 million mt, up 5 percent from the same period last year. Export value moved 1 percent ahead of last year’s pace at $3.78 billion.

With August pork production at the largest level so far this year and record-large for the month of August, exports accounted for 24 percent of total production and 20 percent for muscle cuts only – up slightly from a year ago. For January through August, exports accounted for 25 percent of total pork production and 21 percent for muscle cuts, roughly steady with last year. Export value per head slaughtered was $49.36 in August, up 7 percent from a year ago and exceeding last year’s average for the third consecutive month. For the first eight months of the year, per-head value averaged $49.37, down 1 percent.

Variety meat exports provided a strong boost to the August totals for pork. Pork variety meat exports were 44,563 mt valued at $88.2 million – up 44 percent and 51 percent, respectively.

“U.S. livestock producers deserve some good news in what has been a tough year, and this upward trend in exports is very encouraging,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “Currently U.S. pork is very competitive, as the production of our key competitors – Australia and the European Union – has moderated and prices have jumped. As U.S. competitiveness continues to improve, we remain optimistic that exports will maintain positive momentum through the end of this year and into 2017.”

Pork exports rebound in Mexico and Japan; volumes stay strong to China/Hong Kong
Pork exports to Mexico continued to show improvement in August, easily reaching 2016 highs in both volume (64,620 mt, up 8 percent from a year ago) and value ($129.3 million, up 17 percent). For January through August, exports to Mexico were still down 6 percent in volume (444,170 mt) and 2 percent in value ($808.3 million), but gained ground on last year’s pace.

Chilled pork exports to Japan have been on a record pace all year (up 14 percent year-over-year to 147,000 mt) but a slump in frozen volumes has held back overall results. With chilled pork continuing to perform well in August and frozen exports rebounding, exports to Japan climbed 25 percent from a year ago in volume (35,154 mt) and 27 percent in value ($151.2 million). Through August, exports to Japan were down 8 percent in volume (258,495 mt) and 6 percent in value ($1.03 billion).

Other January-August export results for U.S. pork included:

  • Exports to China/Hong Kong remained well ahead of their 2015 pace, with export volume up 76 percent in volume (370,238 mt) and 61 percent in value ($711.8 million). China/Hong Kong’s pork imports from all suppliers remain higher year-over-year, but have slowed from the peak levels seen earlier this year. Imports are expected to continue to moderate this fall but there are indications that buying could trend upward again prior to Chinese New Year.
  • While pork exports to Korea remain down from last year’s large totals in both volume (87,739 mt, down 28 percent) and value ($231.7 million, down 35 percent), exports trended strongly upward in August and are well-positioned for a strong finish in 2016.
  • Led by mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala and strong growth in Nicaragua, U.S. pork continues to have a big year in Central America, with volume up 18 percent from a year ago to 41,947 mt. Export value was 11 percent higher at $99 million.
  • Exports to Canada remained slightly ahead of last year, up 2 percent in volume (131,104 mt) and 1 percent in value ($522.9 million).


  • Export statistics refer to both muscle cuts and variety meat, unless otherwise noted.
  • One metric ton (mt) = 2,204.622 pounds.