U.S. pork exports continued to increase in May, while beef exports improved compared to April but were down from 2022's record highs.

Data released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation show Mexican imports of pork and global demand for variety meats contributed to the upward trend. May pork exports totaled 261,361 metric tons, a 16% increase from last year and the most since May 2021. Pork variety meat exports set a value record in May of $127 million.

Mexico remains a leading export market for U.S. pork. May exports to Mexico increased 21% from last year, adding 16% in value totaling $198.9 million.

“While pork shipments to Mexico are on a remarkable pace, it takes a wide range of markets to achieve double-digit growth,” said Dan Halstrom, USMEF president and CEO. “Demand is strong throughout the Western Hemisphere and the U.S. industry continues to make gains in Asian markets where supplies of European pork are much tighter than a year ago.”

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The volume of beef exports for May is down 14% from last year’s record highs but increased 4% from April's figures.

“U.S. beef exports face considerable headwinds in 2023, on both the supply and demand side, especially when compared to last year’s massive totals,” Halstrom said.

For most markets, U.S. beef exports trended down in May compared to 2022. However, Mexico is an exception. Beef exports to the U.S.’s southern neighbor increased by 9%, translating to $94.2 million in value.

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