August 8, 2008


US pork exports soar 98 percent on-year in May, recovering Mexican market

US pork exports in May posted gains with an increase of 98.2 percent on-year with market growth in Mexico, though on the downside US consumer pork demand appears to be on a decline.

Pork exports in May accounted for US$43.62 per head slaughtered, up from US$25.06 in May 2007, according to agricultural economist Glenn Grimes from the University of Missouri. Pork byproduct exports were valued at US$6.23 per head slaughtered, up from US$3.57 in May 2007.


In total, pork exports in May were worth US$49.85 per head slaughtered, up from US$28.62 a year ago.


In total for January-May 2008, pork exports were worth US$38.31 per head slaughtered, up 36 percent on-year from US$28.51.


US pork exports this year saw a growth in Mexico, where US pork imports were slowed in 2007 due to large supplies of domestic Mexican meat, according to Chad Russell, regional director for Mexico and the Dominican Republic for the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).


A large-scale herd liquidation among the smaller and medium-sized producers last year led to an oversupply of domestic Mexican pork in the marketplace but the excess inventory has since been cleared off therefore Mexico have started to import US pork again, according to Russell.


Russell added that price-sensitive Mexico remains a promising market for further growth.


US pork exports to Mexico so far this year have increased about 17 percent, with shipments during January-May period up 19 percent.


In the first five months of 2008, US pork exports to Japan increased 16.2 percent; went up 25 percent to Canada; up 401 percent to China and Hong Kong; up 13.5 to South Korea; and rose 145 percent to Russia.


Net pork exports accounted for 16.96 percent of production for January-May 2008, up 9.56 percent on-year.

Despite the good exporting results, Glenn Grimes and Ron Plains said consumer pork demand from January-June fell 2.3 percent on-year.


Pork suffered the least loss compared to beef, broilers and turkeys, which lost consumer demand of 4.7 percent, 5.5 percent and 5.1 percent respectively.


Still, live hog demand remains strong with an 8.2-percent on-year growth in January-June. Pork exports accounted for most of the growth, followed by population growth.


Grimes and Plains also said hog producers are responding to high feed prices by marketing lighter hogs. Barrow and gilt weights in Iowa-southern Minnesota averaged 259.3 pounds per head for the week ending July 26, down 0.3 pound from a week earlier and down 2.4 pounds from the same week in 2007.

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