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US beef exports excel in May, pork faces export challenges

Strong global demand boosts beef exports; pork exports decline year-over-year


USDA and USMEF data revealed a contrasting scenario for US meat exports in May 2024. Beef exports surged to $902.4 million, the highest since June 2023, indicating a robust global demand and a successful rebound in several key markets including Japan, Mexico, and Taiwan. 

The beef sector’s success contrasts sharply with the pork industry, where exports dipped in both volume and value compared to last year. Despite solid performances in specific markets such as South Korea, overall pork exports have not kept pace with 2023’s record-setting figures. 

Beef exports to Japan witnessed substantial growth, driven by an increase in tourism which has revitalized the country's foodservice industry.  

The economic benefits of a weak yen also helped bolster US beef's competitiveness abroad. Similarly, increased exports to Mexico and the ASEAN region have contributed significantly to the overall growth in beef export values.

Pork exports, however, experienced a slight downturn, especially to major markets like Mexico, despite maintaining a strong export value over $200 million. This illustrates the challenges faced in sustaining growth in highly competitive and fluctuating global markets.

These trends highlight the resilience of the US beef industry in navigating global market dynamics and the ongoing challenges for pork exports.  

As agricultural trade continues to evolve, understanding these patterns will be crucial for US exporters aiming to maximize their market presence and adapt to changing global consumer demands.

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