Total pork exports for 2013 were just shy of 5 billion pounds, or 7.2 percent below 2012. Lower exports stemmed primarily from demand weakness in Asia and from the absence of Russia as a buyer of U.S. pork products.
Exports to Japan, still the largest foreign buyer of U.S. pork products, were almost 3 percent below a year ago. Lower Japanese demand for U.S. pork is largely attributable to slightly higher domestic pork production, a 16.5 percent year-over-year depreciation of the yen relative to the U.S. dollar in 2013, and higher 2013 beef imports. U.S. shipments to China\Hong Kong were more than 16 percent below 2012 volumes, due likely to adequate domestic pork supplies in China.
Lower Chinese demand for U.S. pork products last year lends credence to the idea that China treats imports as a supplement to domestic production.
In the absence of negative supply shocks in the Chinese pork sector, U.S. exports to China\Hong Kong tend to be steady but not noteworthy. In 2013, average monthly shipments to China\Hong Kong were 54 million pounds, whereas the average in 2012—when China experienced some production problems—was almost 65 million pounds. In South Korea, 2013 U.S. pork shipments were lower, due likely to continued strong production recovery from disease problems that plagued the South Korean pork sector in 2010-2011.
Shipments of U.S. pork to Canada were almost 2 percent lower than in 2012, likely due to slightly lower Canadian exports of muscle cuts, that increased domestic availability, but probably due more to the 10.3- percent depreciation of the Canadian dollar, making U.S. products more expensive in Canada. Mexico was a significant bright spot for U.S. pork exports in 2013. Shipments increased almost 7 percent compared with 2012, raising Mexico’s share of total U.S. exports to 25 percent.
The likely reasons for increased shipments to Mexico include an improving economy and competitive prices of U.S. pork products relative to beef and poultry. The top 10 foreign destinations of U.S. pork exports in 2013 are listed below.
The United States is expected to export 5.14 billion pounds of pork products in 2014, an increase of almost 3 percent from 2013.
U.S. pork exports to 10 largest foreign destinations in 2013
|Country||2013 exports||2012 exports||Percent Chg.||2013 exp. share||2012 exp. share|
Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry