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Results Confirm Strong Year for US Pork

by 5m Editor
18 February 2011, at 8:41am

US - Pork export value posted the second-best year on record at $4.78 billion, falling just 2 per cent short of the 2008 high and besting 2009 by more than 10 per cent.

Total volume was 1.918 million metric tons – an increase of 3 per cent over the previous year.

Solid year for US pork includes new records in top two markets

US pork exports posted the best value year ever in Japan, reaching $1.65 billion. This was the third consecutive year in which exports to Japan exceeded $1.5 billion, with value jumping 7 per cent over 2009 and 6 per cent over the previous record in 2008. Volume was 434,923 metric tons – an increase of 3 per cent over the previous year.

Pork exports have never broken the $1 billion mark for a single year in any market other than Japan, but came very close in 2010. Exports to Mexico reached a record $986.7 million – an increase of nearly 30 per cent over the previous high set in 2009. Volume was up 8 per cent over the previous year to 545,732 metric tons.

“USMEF is extremely proud of the success US pork has achieved in both of these mainstay markets,“ USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng said. “Japan is a remarkable market that provides outstanding returns for US producers. But it is exceptionally competitive, and we have to stay very aggressive to have any chance of remaining the market share leader. With Mexico, we are very pleased with the way demand help up in the face of rising pork prices. Consumers there truly appreciate the quality of US pork, and it performed very well in both the retail and processing sectors.“

Export volume per head of slaughter equated to $43.72 compared to $38.44 in 2009. The ratio of total production exported was 23.7 per cent compared to 22.5 per cent in 2009.

Other market highlights for US pork include:

  • Canada held strong as the third-largest value market for US pork, setting new records for both volume and value. Value increased 19 per cent to $618.2 million, while volume was up 8 per cent to 183,068 metric tons.

  • Exports to China rebounded after being absent for much of the previous year, increasing 112 per cent in volume (130,675 metric tons) and 73 per cent in value ($228.5 million).

  • Led by strong demand in the Philippines and Singapore, exports to the ASEAN region were record-large – up 12 per cent in volume (66,657 metric tons) and 26 per cent in value ($134.6 million).

  • Exports to Australia were also record-large, reaching 52,426 metric tons valued at $148.2 million. This was an increase of 8 per cent in volume and 29 per cent in value.

  • Led by Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia, exports to the Central-South America region set new records in both volume (up 32 per cent to 59,405 metric tons) and value (up 41 per cent to $141.3 million).

  • Exports to the Caribbean also posted a record-breaking performance, increasing 6 per cent in volume (42,797 metric tons) and 19 per cent in value ($92.6 million).

Pork exports to South Korea were down in 2010, due in part to high domestic inventories through much of the year. This is expected to change in 2011, however, as the country deals with a severe foot-and-mouth disease crisis in its swine herd. Korea’s pork import activity has already picked up, and will be further bolstered by a recently-announced, duty-free quota.

“This is a very unfortunate situation in Korea, so distributors there are in need of product and consumers need relief from soaring prices,“ Mr Seng said. “So we will be working to make sure that US pork fills a substantial portion of the new quota.“