U.S. pork exports may set a new record in 2011, United States Meat Export Federation officials announced Tuesday. Increased foreign demand due to a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in South Korea and the earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan earlier this year have resulted in increased pork sales through May.

Demand from export markets is expected to continue at robust levels through 2011. A record $5 billion in U.S. pork export sales is a possibility for the current year, according to Erin Daley Borror, USMEF economist.

Through May, U.S. pork exports are up 22 percent in value ($2.35 billion) and 16 percent in volume over 2010. This is due in large part to exceptional results in South Korea, China and Japan. Daley Borror discusses the performance of these markets in the attached audio report. She notes that exports to Korea have already exceeded the totals achieved in the entire calendar year of 2010.

China also finds itself in a time of short hog supplies, which has led to increased export levels of U.S. pork variety meats to that country.

Exports to Japan are coming off a record-setting value year in 2010, yet exports are up 18 percent to more than $790 million. Daley Borror also notes that pork exports to Mexico – the largest volume market for U.S. pork - had slowed in April but rebounded strongly in May.

As a result, global exports are even running ahead of the all-time record pace set in 2008. If market conditions hold up reasonably well in the second half of the year, Daley Borror says U.S. pork export value will likely eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever in 2011 breaking the 2008 record of $4.88 billion.

Source: USMEF