The pork industry continues to get good news on foreign trade. Pork exports for January of 2006 were up 20.2 percent from 2005, according to agricultural economist Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri. The growth in January pork exports is 50 percent since 2004 and 72 percent since 2003. Judging by January results, Grimes contends it’s possible to get a 20 percent growth in pork exports in 2006.

Japan is the only negative in the pork export arena. U.S. exports to Japan in January were down more than 3 percent from a year earlier, but up to all of the other important markets, notes Grimes. For January, exports were up an average of 35.6 percent to countries other than Japan.

Conversely, imports in January were up 2.5 percent from a year earlier. Net pork exports as a percent of production in January was very close to 8 percent -- up from 6.34 percent a year earlier, explains Grimes.

Live hog imports from Canada in January were up 7.4 percent from 12 months earlier. Feeder pig imports were up 10.5 percent and slaughter hog imports were up 1.7 percent from 2005. The U.S. pork industry expected the increase in live hog imports, especially feeder pig imports, because of the duty on U.S. exports of corn to Canada.

In addition, the market may be getting some positive impact on pork exports due to the Asian flu in poultry in several countries around the world.

University of Missouri's Weekly Pork Market Outlook