April Pork Exports Outdo Previous Record

US - U.S. pork continues to shine in the export market, eclipsing the previous one-month record by nearly 12 percent to reach 175,640 metric tons (387.2 million pounds) of pork and pork variety meat valued at $391.5 million in April. The previous record of 156,959 metric tons (346 million pounds) was set in February.
calendar icon 12 June 2008
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The pork success story is even more impressive looking at the first four months of 2008 versus a year ago. Total pork exports for 2008 are up an impressive 52 percent over the year prior, equaling 629,682 metric tons (1.38 billion pounds) valued at $1.4 billion.

“U.S. pork has set export records for 16 consecutive years, and there’s no sign that the world’s appetite for U.S. pork is slackening one bit,“ said Erin Daley, manager of research and analysis for the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Daley noted that for the first four months of 2008, exports accounted for 22 percent of total U.S. pork and pork variety meat production, versus 16.5 percent last year.

Pork Highlights (year-to-date)

  • Japan is still the top market with total pork exports up 17 percent to 144,950 metric tons (319.5 million pounds) valued at $460 million.
  • The China/Hong Kong region follows closely behind with exports up 311 percent to 144,800 metric tons (319.2 million pounds) valued at $243.5 million. April exports set a new monthly record for the region – 42,331 metric tons (93.3 million pounds), up from the February record of 40,894 metric tons (90.1 million pounds) and a recovery after exports dipped to 27,724 metric tons (61.1 million pounds) in March.
  • Exports to Mexico are up 10 percent to 103,682 metric tons (228.5 million pounds), but still lag record 2006 volumes by 16 percent.
  • A new record in Russia as well, with April volumes at 18,470 metric tons (40.7 million pounds) for a January-April total of 58,334 metric tons (128.6 million pounds), up 142 percent from the first four months of last year. Russia recently resumed imports from Canada after banning them in April, then delisted several EU plants and later delisted four U.S. plants. Russia is currently the third-largest pork importer, following China/Hong Kong and Japan. Daley noted that U.S. prices are currently extremely competitive, even with Brazil, assisted by the weak dollar.
  • Exports to Canada are up 24 percent to 53,348 metric tons (117.6 million pounds).
  • Exports to South Korea are up 12 percent to 48,550 metric tons (107 million pounds).
  • Exports to the ASEAN are up 316 percent to 15,429 metric tons or 34 million pounds (Philippines: 8,963 metric tons, Vietnam: 3,238 metric tons, Singapore: 3,072 metric tons).
  • Exports to the EU are up 117 percent to 13,668 metric tons or 30.1 million pounds (France: 3,979 metric tons, Italy: 2,109 metric tons, Germany: 1,811 metric tons). As previously noted, U.S. export statistics overstate actual exports to the EU.
  • Exports to Central and South America are up 4 percent to 11,308 metric tons or 24.9 million pounds (Honduras: 4,024 metric tons, Guatemala: 2,247 metric tons, Colombia: 1,652 metric tons).
  • Exports to the Dominican Republic are up 320 percent to 4,312 metric tons (9.5 million pounds).
  • Exports to Taiwan and Australia are lagging last year by 18 and 7 percent respectively. Exports to Australia and Taiwan increased significantly in April, but market access restrictions still limit exports to Taiwan.

Live Animal Imports

Live animals imported prior to mid-July can be declared as U.S. origin under the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements, which will come into effect at the end of this year. U. S. imports of Mexican feeder cattle are down 31 percent compared to January-May last year.

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