Both U.S. pork and beef export levels continued to exceed expectations through the first nine months of the year according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. U.S. pork exports built on the record set in August, skyrocketing 61 percent in September over totals from a year ago.  U.S. pork and variety meat exports for the month totaled 163,055 metric tons.

Beef plus variety meat exports also maintained their strength through September with monthly exports up 47 percent to 98,640 metric tons valued at $396 million.

Year-to-date, pork exports are up 70 percent in volume versus 2007 to 1.5 million metric tons valued at $3.6 billion – a 64 percent increase.

Currency fluctuations and credit issues are affecting the flow of world meat trade, and we will see exports impacted in the final quarter of the year, predicts USMEF.  However, as markets stabilize, demand for U.S. pork and beef should remain strong.

Japan, Mexico, Russia and Hong Kong/China were the leading markets for pork exports in September, although Canada set a new monthly record and South Korea continues to grow as a market for U.S. pork.
Japan is now the top export market for U.S. pork in volume and value for the year at 335,671 metric tons valued at $1.1 billion, increases of 26 and 32 percent, respectively. Exports in September were 38 percent higher than last year, totaling 36,394 metric tons.

Mexico was the second-largest destination for U.S. pork in September with exports totaling 29,575 metric tons up 43 percent from a year ago. The Hong Kong/China region continued to be the second-largest destination measured in volume for U.S. pork through the first nine months of 2008, with exports up 214 percent to 330,601 metric tons valued at $572 million, a 268 percent jump.

September pork exports to Canada set a new record at 15,882 metric tons narrowly surpassing the 15,853 metric tons exported during July and up 9 percent from a year ago. For 2008, exports volumes are up 21 percent to 125,917 metric tons valued at $416 million, a 19 percent hike. 

Weekly Canadian live hog exports to the United States remain well below year-ago levels, with exports of all live hogs down 4 percent from January through Nov. 8 compared to the same period last year – totaling just over 8 million head.   The latest Canadian inventory report showed the breeding herd down 8.3 percent in October.   Therefore the trend for lower live hog exports and lower Canadian pork production is expected to continue in 2009. 

Source: USMEF