April U.S. pork exports were over 421 million pounds, up about 19.5 percent from year earlier. Second-quarter pork exports are forecast to be almost 1.27 billion pounds, up about 17 percent from the same period a year ago. Annual U.S. pork exports for 2011 were revised upward from May forecasts to 4.872 billion pounds, about 15.3 percent higher than a year ago and are expected to account for 21.5 percent of U.S. commercial pork production.

Larger than expected pork exports are due mostly to the continued low U.S. dollar exchange value vis-à-vis the rest of the world, coupled with Foot and Mouth Disease issues in South Korea and a lack of Asian production capacity to meet demand. Year to date, the five largest destinations of U.S. pork exports continue to be Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Canada, and China. The year-over-year pork export growth in April was due mainly to increases in sales to South Korea, China, and Russia.

April U.S. imports of pork were more than 68 million pounds, up 5.8 percent from a year ago. Second -quarter imports are expected to be 220 million pounds. Year-over-year, April imports from Canada, Denmark, and Italy were higher, while imports from Poland and Mexico were lower. Canada accounted for 76.5 percent of U.S. imports versus 78.7 percent in April 2010.

Live swine imports were 437,000 head in April, down 12.5 percent from last year. Annual live hog imports to the U.S. were revised down slightly to 5,842,000 head. Live swine exports totaled 1,846 head for April, 112 percent higher than a year ago.