According to the USDA's latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry report, U.S. pork exports in May were 448 million pounds, 9.6 percent greater than exports a year ago. While shipments to the (usual) top three largest foreign destinations for U.S. pork were mediocre-to-fair in May—Japan (-19 percent), Mexico (+1.3 percent), and Canada (16 percent)—exports to Russia were more than double the volume of May 2011 exports (37.8 million pounds, +103 percent).

While data indicate that Russia’s total pork imports through May are off slightly compared with a year ago, U.S. pork appears to be benefiting from trade disputes with Brazil, and also from lower European exports to Russia. In May, U.S. exports to China of almost 60 million pounds were more than 150 percent higher than in May 2011.

Although current Chinese demand for U.S. pork is lower than in the second half of 2011, second-quarter shipments to China have stabilized at a level that significantly bolsters the “bottom line” of total U.S. pork export volumes.