USDA export forecasts for fourth-quarter 2008 and for 2009 were reduced, based on lower-than-expected third-quarter exports, and expectations for continued slower economic growth next year in important foreign markets for U.S. pork.
Fourth quarter 2008 exports were lowered by 200 million pounds to 1.150 billion pounds, 20 percent higher than a year ago. The pork export forecast for 2009 was lowered by 400 million pounds to 4.1 billion pounds, 14 percent below 2008, but more than 30 percent ahead of 2007.
In the first 10 months of 2008, the top five export destinations for U.S. pork were Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong, Russia, and China. Although still in the top five on a cumulative basis, China’s monthly exports have been year-over-year lower since August, coinciding with its improved herd health situation and the end of the Olympic Games. Japan continues to be far and away the most important export destination for U.S. pork.