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US Swine Economics Report

by 5m Editor
17 December 2004, at 12:00am

Regular report by Ron Plain on the US Swine industry, this week pointing out that pork exports continue to set records.

Ron Plain
Ron Plain

This week USDA released data on U.S. pork trade for October and with it came two new trade records. U.S. pork exports during October, 204.3 million pounds, were the largest for any month, ever.

During the first 10 months of 2004, the U.S. exported 1.76 billion pounds of pork, 43 million pounds more than for any calendar year in history. With two months left to go, foreign purchases have made 2004 the thirteenth consecutive year for record U.S. pork exports. By the time 2004 comes to an end, U.S. pork exports are expected to be about 25% higher than last year and more than 8 times as much as we exported in 1990.

During the first 10 months of 2004, we exported 64% more pork to Mexico, 24% more pork to Canada and 11% more pork to Japan than during January-October 2003. Of the 358 million pound increase in pork exports thus far this year compared to last, 47.4% went to Mexico, 21.5% was shipped to Japan and 10.0% was shipped to Canada.

The value of U.S. pork exports during the first 10 months of 2004 was $1.151 billion, or $13.51/hog slaughtered during this period.

U.S. pork imports during the first 10 months of 2004 were down 7.4% compared to January-October 2003. One reason for the reduction in pork imports, over 80% of which are from Canada, is that Canada has been shipping a lot more live hogs to the U.S. Through October, the U.S. has imported more than 7 million Canadian hogs. This is more than a million head ahead of last year's pace. Two-thirds of the hogs imported from Canada are feeder pigs.

The recent imposition of a 14% tariff on most hog imports from Canada should slow, but will certainly not stop, the southward movement of Canadian hogs and pigs. In the short run, Canadian producers have no acceptable alternative to relying on U.S. feeding floors and slaughter plants as a destination for their hogs. Canada doesn't have the facilities to handle an extra 8 millions hogs per year.

Increased pork exports and reduced imports have helped make 2004 the most profitable year for U.S. hog producers since 1990.

5m Editor