Both U.S. beef and pork exports had strong months in October, according to USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef continues on pace to surpass 2012’s record export figure of $5.51 billion while pork exports reached their highest value yet in 2013 at $539.9 million.

U.S. beef, pork exports continued surge in OctoberJapan and Mexico, the top export markets for U.S. beef in 2013, increased volume of U.S. beef purchases in October, and sales of U.S. beef to Hong Kong sharply increased. For the year, total U.S. beef exports stand at 969,186 metric tons valued at nearly $5.1 billion.

Export value per head of fed slaughter is up $29 per head compared to last year’s export value of $251.06.

Top-performing beef export markets in October were:

• Japan: 18,004 metric tons (up 40 percent) valued at $106.3 million (up 16 percent)

• Mexico: 21,983 metric tons (up 53 percent) — Mexico’s largest volume of U.S. beef imports since December 2011 — valued at $95.3 million (up 50 percent)

• Hong Kong: 15,403 metric tons (up 148 percent) — a new record volume — valued at $98.1 million (up 184 percent)

• South Korea: 9,509 metric tons (up more than 25 percent) valued at $60.6 million (up close to 75 percent)

• Central/South America: 3,560 metric tons (up 61 percent) valued at $15.5 million (up nearly 54 percent)

“Hong Kong is clearly emerging as a major beef market, and USMEF’s initiatives there cover retail, foodservice and trade sectors in this highly competitive and progressive market,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “We are the second-largest supplier to Hong Kong, trailing only Brazil, but we are continuing to miss out on even larger opportunities in mainland China, where we have not had access since 2003.”

Through the first 10 months of 2013, mainland China imported nearly $1.1 billion of beef, which is a 595 percent increase compared to last year.

On the pork side, while the volume of U.S. pork exports to Mexico, the largest pork, was lower in October, increased by 5.6 percent to $million. Through the first 10 months 2013, the export volumes remain steady compared to 2012 but was 4 percent higher.

Pork export value in October $51.79 per head and accounted percent of pork muscle cuts and percent of total pork product. Other key pork export results October were:

• China/Hong Kong region: metric tons (down nearly 6 percent) $80.9 million (down 4 percent)

• Canada: 18,831 metric tons percent) valued at $69.3 million percent)

• Central/South America: 13,040 tons (up more than 23 percent) $33.9 million (up 30 percent) 65 percent increase in volume Colombia (3,916 metric tons) percent jump in value ($10.7 million)

• South Korea: 5,566 metric (down 60 percent) valued million (down 57 percent)

• ASEAN: 6,912 metric tons (up more than 17 percent) valued at $15.2 million (up more than 15 percent).