2023 U.S. Pork Exports were Up 8% Y-O-Y while U.S. Beef Exports were Down 15%

posted by S. Patricia Batres-Marquez on Wednesday, February 21, 2024

U.S. Pork Exports in 2023

Data released this month by USDA-FAS indicates U.S. pork exports[1] were up 8% to 2.32 million metric tons (MT) in the 2023 calendar year compared with last year (see Figure 1). The value of those exports was estimated at $6.79 billion. U.S. pork exports to Mexico, the leading market, reached an all time record volume of 941,477 MT worth $2.05 billion.

Despite declining 3.0% year-over-year, exports to Japan continued as the second largest market for U.S. pork in 2023 and made up 15% (336,600 MT, $1.38 billion) of total exports. Other important destinations for U.S. pork in 2023 were Canada (199,259 MT, $840 million) and South Korea (183,068 MT, $612.8 million). Exports to both countries increased about 10% from 2022 in volume terms. Exports to China fell 18% to 160,982 MT ($368.83 Million) in 2023 relative to the previous year, but China was the fifth main destination for U.S. pork. Exports to that country accounted for 7% of all U.S. pork shipments in 2023.

U.S. Pork Exports

Figure 1. U.S. Pork Exports

U.S. Beef Exports in 2023

U.S. beef exports[2] in 2023 reached a volume of 1.00 million MT worth $8.841 billion. With exports to several top destinations declining, U.S. exports in 2023 were down 15% compared with the record high volume in 2022 (1.18 million MT) (see Figure 2). Despite the decline, the volume of exports in 2023 was the top fourth in the last 20 years.

Since 2021, South Korea has been the leading market for U.S. beef. Shipments to that country were estimated at 233,082 MT ($2.05 billion) and made up 23% of U.S. beef total volume exported in 2023; however, exports to South Korea fell 18% year-over-year. Exports to Japan (198,527 MT, $1.36 billion) and China (170,754 MT, $1.54 billion) accounted for 20% and 17% of total volume exported, respectively. U.S. exports to these two countries experienced a decline of 22% and 20% in 2023 from volumes registered in 2022, correspondingly. In addition, U.S. beef exports to Canada declined 1% to 95,844 MT ($857.90 million). Over nine percent of total U.S. beef exports were dispatched to Canada in 2023.

Among the top-five market destinations for U.S. beef in 2023, only U.S. exports to Mexico (101,482 MT, $873.28 million) expanded (12%) from the preceding year and exports to Mexico made up 10% of total U.S. beef exports.

US Beef Exports

Figure 2. U.S. Beef Exports

The latest projections from USDA show a continued increase in U.S. pork exports and a downward trend for U.S. beef exports in 2024. U.S. pork exports are expected to increase 3.8% to 7.080 billion pounds in 2024 compared with the volume exported last year. The projection is based on U.S. pork becoming more competitive compared with pork from the European Union. The U.S. is expected to export 25.4% of its pork production, which would be up from 25.0% in 2023.

For U.S. beef, exports are expected to decline 8.3% to 2.785 billion pounds in 2024 relative to 2023. This projection is based on reduced demand from Asia. The level of expected U.S. beef exports would represent 10.6% of U.S. beef production in 2024, down from 11.3% in 2023.

[1] Pork exports refer to muscle cut exports (including pork fresh/chilled/frozen; pork hams/shoulders/cured, pork bacon, cured; pork prepare/preserved, not/can, pork prepare/preserved, canned).

[2] Beef exports refer to muscle cut exports (including beef & veal, fresh/chilled/frozen and beef & veal preparations/preserved).

About The Author

S. Patricia Batres-Marquez

As a Senior Research Analyst for Decision Innovation Solutions, S. Patricia Batres-Marquez is responsible for conducting economic data analysis and modeling to evaluate agricultural policies relevant to clients to make informed decisions. Using her research expertise in the analysis of agricultur ... read more