The USDA Agricultural Outlook Report predicts record exports for pork and strong overseas business for beef in fiscal 2009, while imports in those categories will remain flat.  In the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in October, pork exports are expected to rise to a record 1.8 million tons, at a value of $4.6 billion.

Ample domestic production will be helped by a weak dollar and competitive prices in key markets such as China, Mexico, Russia, Canada, and Japan, where demand for U.S. pork should expand.

Meanwhile, beef exports are forecast at 625,000 tons valued at $2.7 billion in fiscal 2009. The increase in the dollar value is due to higher volumes, mostly to Mexico and Canada, which also are supported by the competitive U.S. dollar. Also, U.S. beef exports to South Korea are expected to gradually increase.

In the poultry arena, higher broiler meat unit values will offset a slight volume decrease, leaving export value unchanged at $3.2 billion. Higher feed costs will take its toll on domestic production, and demand from major markets could soften.

The fiscal 2009 forecast for the livestock, dairy, and poultry imports together has been boosted by $200 million, to $12.4 billion. Beef imports are expected to increase as U.S. cow slaughter declines and the U.S. dollar strengthens. Cattle and swine imports are projected down due to less exportable supplies from Canada and lower U.S. prices.

Source: Meatingplace.com