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Ten year outlook promising for US pork exports

by 5m Editor
21 August 2007, at 8:10am

US - The United States is the world's largest pork exporter, and is expected to dominate the global pork market over the next 10 years. This promising outlook comes as no surprise to the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), says a recent report.

"Pork is the most widely consumed protein in the world, and US pork has quality advantages that set it apart from the competition," says USMEF president Phil Seng. "We communicate the US pork story every day to importers, meat buyers and consumers, increasing awareness of US pork's nutrition value, safety and superior quality."

The latest Agricultural Outlook, produced each July by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that the US share of global pork exports will approach 30 per cent by 2016, and one in every 3.4 pounds of pork traded in the world will originate from the United States.

The past 15 years of record-breaking US pork exports have supported growth in the industry, and this trend is expected to continue through the next decade. Tremendous efficiency gains, resulting in a 55 per cent increase in pork production per breeding hog over the past 15 years, helped position the US industry as the leading global supplier.

"Along with the US pork industry, we realise this past success is not a time to rest on our laurels," says Seng .

International consumers have a growing preference for US pork domestic producers understand the value of exports - which have grown from just seven per cent of production in 2000 to more than 15 per cent and are expected to reach 20 per cent by 2016.

"Consumers in South Korea, for example, can purchase US pork at a lower cost than domestic product, without sacrificing product quality," Seng says. "Export markets provide a higher return to US pork producers on selected products than if those products were sold domestically."

Weak dollar fuels demand
The relatively weak US dollar has also stimulated demand. The €uro has been trading at record highs, with similar situations for the Canadian dollar, Brazilian real and Chilean peso. US currency depreciation is expected to continue in the near term.

The EU-27 is expected to be the second largest pork exporter, although Brazil's exports are expected to have the fastest growth rate and may surpass EU production. The country is expected to export more than 26 per cent of its production and gain an 18 per cent share of the global pork export market by 2016.

However, disease status remains Brazil's greatest variable and may limit actual export growth. It still faces foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) restrictions from the Russian markets, its largest export trader.

EU-27 exports are expected to fall back by about five per cent, due to number of key factors including: growth in domestic demand, rising feed and input costs, costly environmental and animal welfare regulations and the relatively strong €uro.

Market share is also expected to decrease from 26 to 18 percent, although production and consumption within the community is expected to remain relatively stable. The European Commission’s (EC)predictions do estimate an increase in production (3.2 per cent) from 2006 to 2014. However, forecasters say this will be taken up by per capita consumption which will also rise by three per cent during the same period.

Canadian exports are also expected to fall, from 46 percent of its production to 38 percent over the next 10 years. Canada’s share of the global market is also likely to fall. Estimates suggest a five per cent reduction by 2016 a result of poor recover from recent losses due to the strong Canadian dollar, increasing labour charges and higher feed costs.

“Under NAFTA, the US pork trade with Canada has increased. It is currently our third largest market for pork exports - US exporters are using the weak US dollar to their advantage” said Seng.

Import insights
Japan is expected to remain the USA's chief pork-importer, accounting for one-quarter of global pork imports.

“We have been successful here with our latest consumer campaign, making US pork an everyday protein source. This consumer education has helped position Japan as the top export market,” Mr Seng explained

Other major pork importing countries are Russia at 11 percent, Mexico at eight percent and South Korea at five percent of global exports.

5m Editor