Pork Highlights
MAY 2021:

Pork: 233,648 mt, +12% and the fifth highest monthly volume on record, $688 million, +26.5% and the second highest monthly value after March
PVM: 49,969 mt, +41% and the highest since 2017, $125 million, +62.5% and a new record
Pork + PVM: 283,617 mt, +16% and the third highest after March 2021 and March 2020, $813 million, +31% and a new record

January– May 2021:

Pork: 1.117 million mt, -2%, $3.119 billion, +2%
PVM: 218,908 mt, +4%, $511 million, +10%
Pork + PVM: 1.336 million mt, -1%, $3.629 billion, +3%

Strong demand from wide range of markets offsets lower pork exports to China

Pork export value per head slaughtered averaged $77.64 in May, up 7% from a year ago. Through May, the per-head average was $66.16 (down 2%). Exports accounted for 38.1% of total May pork production, up nearly 2 percentage points from a year ago, while the share of muscle cuts exported was 33.8% (up from 33.3%). January-May exports accounted for 31.8% of total pork production and 28.6% of muscle cuts, compared to 33% and 30%, respectively, for the same period in 2020 but sharply higher than the 2019 ratios of 25% and 22%.

May pork exports to Mexico were the largest of 2021 at 71,370 mt, up 89% from a year ago, valued at $151.6 million (up 158%). With tight domestic supplies in Mexico and a rebound in demand from Mexico’s processing and foodservice sectors complementing strong retail sales, January-May exports to Mexico reached 325,747 mt, up 18% from a year ago, with value up 35% to $640.1 million. Mexico has recaptured its position as the top volume destination for U.S. pork muscle cuts, with exports through May totaling 275,825 mt, up 20% year-over-year.

After slowing in April, pork exports to Japan rebounded to 36,504 mt (up 34% from a year ago), valued at $154.7 million (up 39%). Through May, exports to Japan increased 3% year-over-year in both volume (174,280 mt) and value ($726.6 million).

U.S. pork continues to achieve outstanding growth in Central America, where May exports reached 10,866 mt (up 57% from a year ago) and nearly doubled in value to $29.7 million (up 92%). May exports to top market Honduras were the second highest on record (after March 2021) at 4,704 mt. Through May, exports to the Central American region exceeded last year’s record pace by 51% in volume (57,723 mt) and 56% in value ($149.1 million).

Bolstered by a temporary drop in tariff rates and strong retail demand, pork exports to the Philippines remained large in May at 10,443 mt (up 353% from a year ago), with value up 370% to $28.7 million. For January through May, exports to the Philippines nearly quadrupled year-over-year in both volume (50,116 mt, up 274%) and value ($128.2 million, up 289%).

Other January-May highlights for U.S. pork exports include:

Following a down year in 2020, pork exports to Colombia continue to post an impressive rebound despite persistent challenges related to COVID-19. May exports increased 151% from a year ago to 8,290 mt, with value nearly tripling to $20 million (up 190%). Through May, exports to Colombia increased 43% from a year ago to 41,052 mt, valued at $93.9 million (up 46%).

American Pork & Variety Meat Export Value in May 2021

American Pork & Variety Meat Export Volume in May 2021

Pork exports to the Dominican Republic are on a record pace in 2021. May exports were up 5% from a year ago to 3,763 mt, while value jumped 31% to $10.1 million. Through May, exports were 40% above last year in volume (25,861 mt) and 49% higher in value ($62.3 million).

Led by larger shipments of chilled pork and continued strong demand for convenience-based products, pork exports to Korea reached 17,966 mt in May, up 10% from a year ago, while value increased 38% to $60 million. January-May exports still trailed last year by 2% at 81,203 mt, but value increased 4% to $248.1 million.

Though demand has softened from the enormous totals posted a year ago, China/Hong Kong is still the largest destination for U.S. pork in 2021. This is partly due to sustained demand for variety meat, for which exports through May were up 3% to 136,577 mt, with value up 9% to $332 million. But a slowdown in muscle cuts meant total exports were down 22% to 408,896 mt, valued at $952.7 million (down 24%). The continued decline in China’s pork and live hog prices suggests this trend is likely to accelerate in coming months, underscoring the importance of further export growth to other destinations.

May pork exports accounted for 33.8% of pork production and 38.1% when including variety meats as compared to 33.3% and 36.2% for May 2020. January – May pork exports accounted for 28.6% of production and 31.8% when including variety meats, compared to 30.0% and 33.0% for January – May 2020.

May 2021 pork export value per head averaged $77.64/head, up $5.41/head or +7% from $72.23/head in May 2020. January – May 2021 pork export value per head averaged $66.16/head, down $1.16/head or -2% from $67.32/head for January – May 2020.