U.S. Pork is apparently popular overseas. The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) is reporting that sales of pork, and beef products maintained momentum in May and volumes of both exceeded last year's totals. Values are increasing by double digits as well.

May pork exports totaled 188,030 metric tons (mt) up 4% from a year ago. Export value remained in the $600 million range for the third consecutive month, rising 19%. In the first five months of 2014, pork export volume rose 9% over last year's pace, while export value rose 15% to $2.84 billion.

Mexico took the lead in pork exports posting its largest monthly volume at 56,665 mt, which is an 8% rise since January and an all-time value record of $138.8 million - that's a 45% boost.

In a press statement announcing the numbers, Phil Seng, president USMEF, comments: "USMEF has been focused for some time on increasing overall pork consumption in Mexico, and it is gratifying to see those efforts paying off in the form of very strong, sustained demand. With Mexico experiencing a domestic supply crunch and its hog prices prices up about 35% year-over-year, we have substantially increased shipments to Mexico as U.S. pork prices moved higher."

Here are the May results in other key markets according to USMEF:

  • Exports to South Korea (11,885 mt, +37%) continued well ahead of last year’s pace, as high domestic pork prices helped fuel imports. May export value was up nearly 75% to $40.7 million. The five-month total for Korea was 32% higher in volume (69,154 mt) and increased 46% in value ($208 million).
  • Pork muscle cut exports to Japan (37,880 mt) were up 7% in May, pushing the January-May total to 140,523 mt (+1%), valued at $624 million. Japan’s hog prices have also surged (up 17% from a year ago), reflecting the impact of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and higher-priced imports.
  • While still down from a year ago, export volume to Canada (18,031 mt, -6%) was the largest of 2014. Value increased 7% to $73.7 million.
  • Exports to Colombia remained very strong, increasing 28% in volume (3,748 mt) and 59% in value ($11.9 million). For the first five months of the year, shipments to Colombia have more than doubled in both volume (22,215 mt, +107%) and value ($59.3 million, +114%).
  • China’s slumping hog prices and ample domestic supplies led to a weak month for U.S. exports to the China/Hong Kong region, as volume dropped 28% to 24,999 mt and value slipped 30% to $52.6 million. But January-May volume (165,926 mt) was still within 2% of last year’s pace and value was up 2% to $369 million.

Export value per head hit a near record $69.57 in May, which is up $15 from a year ago. The%age of U.S. production exported was 24% for muscle cuts, and 28% when including muscle cuts and variety meat - up from 23% and 26% respectively in May 2013.

Check out the complete set of USMEF stats.