U.S. Pork Exports Improve in September; Beef Exports Struggle


U.S. pork exports:172,012 metric tons

U.S. beef exports: 79,474 metric tons

U.S. lamb exports: 621 metric tons

September 2015


U.S. pork exports:$456.1 million

U.S. beef exports: $456.6 million

U.S. lamb exports: $1.3 million

September 2015

U.S. pork exports showed modest improvement in September while beef exports endured the most difficult month in some time, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by USMEF.

September pork export volume was up 6 percent from a year ago to 172,012 metric tons (mt). Export value was $456.1 million, down 11 percent year-over-year but the highest since May. Pork exports through the first nine months of the year declined 4 percent in volume (1.58 million mt) and 17 percent in value ($4.21 billion) compared to January-September 2014.

Beef export volume fell 21 percent from a year ago in September to 79,474 metric tons (mt) and value was down 28 percent to $456.6 million – the lowest since January. For the first nine months of 2015, exports were down 12 percent in volume (782,705 mt) and 8 percent in value ($4.8 billion).

September pork volume strong to Mexico, other Western Hemisphere markets

Pork export value per head slaughtered was $46.90 in September, down $11.21 from last year. For January through September, per head value was down $15 to $49.45. January-September exports accounted for just over 24 percent of total pork production and nearly 21 percent for muscle cuts only – down from 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively, during the first nine months of 2014.

Exports to Mexico, the leading volume destination for U.S. pork, fell slightly in volume in September but climbed 5 percent through the first nine months of the year to 529,798 mt, while export value fell 20 percent to $932.6 million.

Other pork export highlights include:

  • September exports to Canada were the largest of 2015, though January-September volume was still down 5 percent to 148,669 mt and value was 13 percent lower at $589.9 million.
  • Central/South America took 89,712 mt through September, up four percent from a year ago, as growth to Honduras and Chile offset smaller volumes to Colombia. Export value to the region fell 6 percent to $226.1 million.
  • January-September exports to South Korea were up 34 percent in volume (129,314 mt) and 23 percent in value ($373.8 million), though the market cooled in September, falling below last year’s monthly volumes for the first time in 2015.
  • Japan remains the leading value market for U.S. pork, despite January-September value declining 18 percent year-over-year to $1.23 billion. Export volume to Japan was down 12 percent to 314,760 mt.

Few bright spots for September beef exports

Beef export value in September equated to $233.80 per head of fed slaughter – down nearly $80 from a year ago. For January through September, per-head value was $280.46 – down $6.36 from the same period last year. Exports equated to 13 percent of total beef production and 10 percent for muscle cuts only – both down 1 percentage point from the first nine months of last year.

September exports to leading market Japan fell 34 percent in volume (15,386 mt) and 36 percent in value ($99.7 million) from a year ago. For the first nine months of the year, exports to Japan were down 12 percent in volume (161,961 mt) and 14 percent in value (just over $1 billion).

Other notable results for beef exports include:

  • September exports to Korea were the lowest since January, but January-September volume was still up 9 percent to 92,577 mt, while value was 4 percent higher at $612.9 million.
  • Exports to Taiwan were also below year-ago levels in September but still up 5 percent in volume (26,772 mt) and 12 percent in value ($241.3 million) for the first nine months of the year.
  • January-September exports to Mexico totaled 161,356 mt (down 10 percent year-over-year), valued at $808.4 million (down 6 percent).
  • September exports to Hong Kong rebounded somewhat from low summer totals but results for the first nine months of the year were down 26 percent in both volume (78,612 mt) and value ($565.1 million) from a year ago.

Tough year continues for lamb exports

For January through September, U.S. lamb exports fell 17 percent in volume to 6,714 mt year-over-year and were down 32 percent in value to $14.3 million. Exports expanded to the Middle East — up 49 percent in volume to 271 mt and 2 percent in value to $874,000 — but declined to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean.

Complete January-September export totals for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics webpage.

For more information, please contact Joe Schuele at or 303-547-0030.

Editor’s notes:

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