Mexico continued to solidify its position as the largest volume destination for U.S. pork as April exports were up 10% from a year ago in volume (58,828 mt) and exceeded $100 million in value for the 12th consecutive month ($104.7 million, up 12%). Through April, exports to Mexico were 24% higher than a year ago in volume (265,090 mt) and up 34% in value ($476.6 million).

Exports to Japan Steady
April pork exports to leading value market Japan were steady with last year’s volume at 32,552 mt and 2 percent higher in value at $129.5 million. Through April, exports to Japan remained 5% higher than a year ago in volume (134,133 mt) and were up 10% in value ($540.8 million). Japanese import data indicate that Canada continues to aggressively pursue Japan’s high-value chilled market, with imports from Canada (53,220 mt) running 19% ahead of last year’s pace while chilled imports from the U.S. were up 2% to 71,228 mt.

China Trending Lower as Market for U.S. Pork
As China’s domestic pork production rebounds, U.S. pork muscle cut exports to China/Hong Kong have trended below year-ago levels each month in 2017 (although exports in April were the largest this year). Exports of pork variety meat, however, have continued to outpace year-ago levels and helped offset much of the decline in muscle cut exports. For combined pork and pork variety meat exports, April volume was down 7% to 48,457 mt but value was steady with last year at $96.7 million.

For January through April, exports to China/Hong Kong were still 2% higher than a year ago in volume (179,493 mt) and up 8% in value to $355.5 million. This was driven by a 21% increase in variety meat exports to 115,305 mt. These exports also commanded higher prices as value jumped 29% to $239 million.

China’s Domestic Prices Continue to Fall
With exports to China/Hong Kong expected to face steeper terrain in coming months as China’s domestic hog prices continue to fall, other destinations for U.S. pork used for further processing take on added importance.

Other Countries Show Promise
In addition to leading market Mexico, some markets that posted impressive April results included:

South Korea: Pork exports to South Korea continued their upward trajectory in April, climbing 21% above last year in volume (14,585 mt) and 32% higher in value ($41 million). Through April, exports to Korea were 28% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (65,743 mt) and 37% higher in value ($177.9 million).

Australia:  April pork exports to Australia were 11% higher than a year ago in volume (5,485 mt) and 17% higher in value ($16 million), pushing January-April results to 26,092 mt (up 31%) valued at $73.8 million (up 36%).

Columbia:  Colombia led a very strong month for pork exports to Central and South America, with April exports to Colombia increasing 84% from a year ago in volume (5,085 mt) and more than doubling in value ($12.2 million, up 118%). Through April, export volume to Colombia was up 96% to 21,617 mt while value jumped 104% to $48.7 million. Bolstered also by a large increase in exports to Chile, export volume to Central and South America was up 45% through April at 53,741 mt while value climbed 47% to $127.8 million.

Philippines:  April exports to the Philippines increased 91% from a year ago in volume (3,430 mt) and soared 217% in value to $9.2 million. This pushed January-April exports to the Philippines to 11,217 mt (up 14%) valued at $28.3 million (up 42%). Exports to the ASEAN region were 6% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (12,907 mt) through April while value was up 28% to $33.4 million.

Dominican Republic:  April exports to the Dominican Republic were up 53% in volume (3,567 mt) and 73% in value (just under $8 million). Through April, exports increased 29% in volume (11,365 mt) and 38% in value ($25.2 million).