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US Swine Economics Report

by 5m Editor
20 April 2004, at 12:00am

Regular report by Ron Plain on the US Swine industry, this week reporting that pork exports are continuing at a fast pace in 2004.

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U.S. pork exports were record high in 2003 for the 12th consecutive year. During the first two months of 2004, the U.S. exported 21.2% more pork than during January and February 2003. Shipments to Mexico, our second largest foreign market, led the way with a 77% increase compared to the first two months of 2003. Pork exports to Canada, our number three customer, were up 32.4%.

U.S. pork imports in January and February were down 6% thanks to a 6.8% drop in Canadian shipments. Last year, Canada was the source of 82% of the pork shipped into the U.S.

The increase in exports of U.S. pork to Canada and the decline in pork imports from Canada may be a natural result of the big jump in the number of Canadian slaughter hogs going to the U.S. In the first two months of 2004, Canada shipped 77.9% more slaughter hogs to the U.S. than in January and February 2003. Canadian hog slaughter during the first 8 weeks of this year was down 2.4%. Since Canada is killing fewer hogs, it shouldn't be surprising that they are exporting less pork and importing more.

Our biggest foreign customer, Japan purchased 4.4% more pork from the U.S. during January and February than a year ago. Because Japan has stopped imports of beef from the U.S. and Canada because of BSE and stopped imports of chicken from some countries because of avian influenza, the odds appear good that pork imports from the U.S. will continue strong.

Pork imports during January and February equaled 5.3% of U.S. pork production and pork exports equaled 9.7% of domestic production.

Higher than year-ago pork prices in the U.S. obviously isn't hurting our pork trade. Nor does it appear that higher prices are slowing domestic pork demand. Daily per capita pork consumption in the U.S. was up 1.5% during the first quarter of 2004.

5m Editor