Pork exports for February were up nearly 28 percent in February compared to February 2003. Japan increased their imports from the United States by nearly 11 percent, Canada was up over 26 percent and Mexico was up76 percent, say Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economists.

For January and February total pork exports were up over 21 percent. The probabilities are very high for pork exports to set a record high for the 13th consecutive year for increases compared to a year earlier.

For the first two months of 2004, U.S. pork exports to Japan were up over 4 percent, to Canada up over 32 percent and to Mexico up 77 percent.

There’s no doubt a portion of the very impressive demand growth for the first quarter of 2004 from a year earlier can be attributed to pork exports, say the Missouri economists. Net exports of production for January increased by 2 percentage points vs. 2003.

Pork exports for the first two months of 2004 accounted for 9.7 percent of our production compared to 8.2 percent in 2003 and the 6 percent reduction in pork imports contributed to the 2 percent net export growth for these two months, say Grimes and Plain.

There is a good possibility that pork exports have contributed one-third or more to the excellent pork demand during the first two months of 2004 compared to the same months in 2003.

Pork imports to the United States were down 6 percent. Most of that decrease was from Canada. A significant portion of the decrease in the pork imports from Canada was due to the larger slaughter hog imports from Canada compared to last year.

When all of the live slaughter hog imports from Canada are considered the United States did not increase net exports for January and February, say the Missouri economists.