Due to recent weakness in pork shipments, USDA has reduced its pork export forecast for 2008 by 125 million pounds. Their current expectation for exports now stands at 5.318 billion pounds.
Industry analysts believe that the strengthening dollar, the global recession and China's increased domestic pork production could all slow pork exports.
USDA also raised its total pork production forecasts for both 2008 and 2009. It put 2008 production at 23.550 billion pounds, up from 23.495 billion pounds forecast in September. It sees 2009 pork production at 23.164 billion pounds, up from 22.999 billion pounds forecast last month.
USDA said stronger than expected increases in pigs per litter have outpaced expected reductions in sow farrowings into early 2009.
In the beef sector, USDA raised its 2008 export forecast to 1.876 billion pounds from 1.841 billion in September. It raised its 2008 forecast of total beef production slightly to 26.805 billion pounds from 26.79 billion forecast in September on continued heavy cow slaughter.