US pork exports achieved double digit growth in September, increasing 10% to more than 222,000 metric tons. U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom explains that the really good news is, unlike some previous months this year, the growth was not as heavily centered around China.
“Japan, one of our larger value markets, saw tremendous growth at about 11%. We also had Canada with a record month. And then you look at Southeast Asia, you’ve got the Philippines and Vietnam which had tremendous growth. So, I think that really is the moral of the story. China was up as well, but in terms of the total gain for global exports in the month of September, it was broad based.”
Halstrom adds that we are going to have a record year in 2020 with China.
“A lot of that’s from the China situation on ASF (African Swine Fever), but we’re still forecasting the second largest year ever in 2021 with about a 10% or 15% decrease.”
As volumes to China begin to moderate, Halstrom says it’s important that U.S. pork regain momentum in key western hemisphere markets, especially Mexico.
“Keep in mind that Mexico and Central and South America, Latin America in general, went into the COVID-19 lockdowns after the U.S. It was really late May when that all happened. So, they were late to go in and they’re probably a little late coming out, but they will come out and we’re starting to see those signs already. Mexico is an extremely important market for some of our cuts like hams and variety meats. While we were down 2% in September, it was from a relatively high number a year ago. So, this is very encouraging.”
For January through September, U.S. pork exports were 16% ahead of last year’s record pace in both volume (2.22 million mt) and value ($5.69 billion).