Global Pork Exports Surge in 2016 as Four Largest Suppliers Set Records

Global pork export volume set a new record in 2016, with the top seven exporters shipping about 8.3 million metric tons (mt) – an increase of 17 percent (or 1.2 million mt) year-over-year. Exports were record-large for all four main suppliers: the European Union, the United States, Canada and Brazil.

NOTE: U.S. pork exports increased 8 percent in volume (2.31 million mt) and 7 percent in value ($5.94 billion) in 2016. A full summary of 2016 U.S. pork exports is available in this news release.

EU exports were up 26 percent to 3.8 million mt, with value up 28 percent to $8.44 billion. China/Hong Kong took 2.19 million mt, up 51 percent, with the rest of the world taking 1.6 million mt, up 3 percent. Exports were higher year-over-year to Japan (352,817 mt, +11 percent), South Korea (255,275 mt, +11 percent), the Philippines (176,277, +14 percent), the U.S. (109,102 mt, +10 percent) and Vietnam (54,664 mt, +46 percent), but exports were lower to Australia (84,892 mt, -2 percent), Taiwan (45,847 mt, -10 percent) and the Ivory Coast (41,308 mt, -22 percent). Excluding variety meats, EU exports were up 31 percent to 2.4 million mt, with China/Hong Kong taking 1.128 million mt, up 78 percent and accounting for 47 percent of the global total. Muscle cut exports to the rest of the world were 1.276 million mt, up 6 percent.


Canada’s 2016 exports were up 7 percent in both volume (1.15 million mt) and value ($2.78 billion). The U.S. was still the largest destination for Canadian pork, but Canada’s exports to the U.S. (372,614 mt, down 8 percent) accounted for only 32 percent of its total exports compared to 38 percent in 2015. Exports to China more than doubled (309,456 mt, up 143 percent), accounting for 27 percent of Canadian exports (up from 12 percent in 2015). Exports to Mexico were up 2 percent to 101,531 mt, but exports decreased to other top destinations including Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong and Chile.

After 10 percent growth in 2015, Brazil’s exports were up 33 percent to a record 713,700 mt. Value increased 16 percent to $1.46 billion. Russia continued to be Brazil’s top market, but exports increased only slightly to 242,040 mt. Exports to Hong Kong, Brazil’s second largest export market, were up 32 percent to 163,320 mt. Exports to China increased from only 5,000 mt in 2016 to 87,855 mt. With the exception of Angola and Venezuela, Brazil experienced widespread growth to its other top export markets including Singapore, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Georgia, the United Arab Emirates and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mexico’s pork exports continued to grow in 2016, with exports through November up 12 percent in both volume (100,718 mt) and value ($410.7 million). Exports to Japan, Mexico’s leading market, increased 5 percent to 74,183 mt, accounting for 74 percent of total exports. Korea surpassed the U.S. as Mexico’s second largest export destination, with January-November exports reaching 12,739 mt, up 46 percent. Exports to the U.S. increased 19 percent to 11,958 mt.

Chile’s 2016 exports were essentially flat, declining less than 1 percent to 175,851 mt, while export value fell 3 percent to $433.3 million. A 30 percent increase in exports to China (74,058 mt) and larger exports to Japan (27,462 mt, up 7 percent) offset lower volumes to Korea (28,951 mt, down 14 percent), Russia (11,732 mt, down 61 percent) and Mexico (6,488 mt, down 12 percent).


While China/Hong Kong dominated 2016 pork import growth, imports were also record-large for Japan and the Philippines. Imports entering Mexico, the United States and Canada were fairly steady with 2015 levels, while Russia’s imports will likely be down at least 13 percent. Imports were also lower for Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, the Ivory Coast and South Africa. Vietnam, Chile and Argentina saw large increases, while imports also trended higher for New Zealand, Thailand and Uruguay.

China/Hong Kong’s combined 2016 pork and variety meat imports reached 3.37 million mt, a 74 percent increase from 2015. When excluding variety meats, pork imports were 1.9 million mt, up 93 percent. Inventory numbers suggest that China will continue to import large volumes at least into mid-2017, although large profits are currently supporting herd expansion and rebuilding.

Japan’s pork imports reached a record 1.07 million mt in 2016, up 7 percent year-over-year. Japanese import growth was led by the EU (340,813 mt, +17 percent), but imports were also higher from all other main suppliers.

Korea’s pork imports were up 2 percent to 491,367 mt. Imports increased from the EU, Chile and Mexico, but declined from the U.S. and Canada. Although Mexico was the largest supplier of chilled pork to Korea, its share of total imports was only 3 percent.

For the Philippines, total pork, pork variety meat, and fat imports reached a new record 274,344 mt, up 8 percent year-over-year.

USMEF will include a similar summary of global beef exports and imports in next week’s Export Newsline.

NOTE: Totals based on Global Trade Atlas data and USMEF estimates