August 20, 2008


Asian demand may have caused drop-off in Canadian hog exports to US


The drop-off in US imports of Canadian slaughter hogs is likely connected to increased hog slaughter in major pork-producing provinces, and larger January-May Canadian pork exports, according to the USDA.


Canadian hog slaughter data for the first half of 2008 shows that while total Canadian slaughter is slightly below the same period of 2007, hog slaughter in the largest producing provinces is running ahead of last year.


First-half 2008 hog slaughter in Manitoba was 4.3 percent greater than a year ago, 8.7 percent greater in Ontario, and 2.9 percent greater in Quebec.


Both Manitoba and Ontario are major hog-exporting provinces. Total first-half 2008 Canadian hog slaughter was less than 1 percent below the same period last year.


Although Canada has recently implemented various measures such as offering incentives to cull sows to solve the problems of overproduction, the USDA suggested it was more likely increased exports than hog control measures that has caused the drop in exports to the US.  


For pork exports, World Trade Atlas data for January-June 2008 Canadian pork exports show an increase of about 4 percent over the same period last year.


Most of the increase is accounted for by shipments to Hong Kong and the Philippines, while exports to the US and Japan down sharply.


Live hog imports into US lower

As Canada is sending more pork overseas, live hog imports into the US are expected to decline year-over-year in the second half and next year, according to USDA. 


Live swine imports totaled almost 5.1 million head in the first half of 2008, 8.4 percent above the same period last year.


Most of the increase came in the first quarter of this year, however.


Slaughter hog and heavier-weight finishing animal imports have declined year-over-year, since the beginning of the second quarter in April.


Second-half 2008 imports are expected to be 4 million head, 25 percent lower than the same period of 2007.


Total 2008 imports are expected to be almost 9.1 million head, down more than 9 percent from the 10 million head imported in 2008.


Next year 7.8 million head will likely be imported, almost 14 percent fewer than this year, according to the USDA.


Lower US imports of heavier-weight finishing swine are also likely a result of deteriorating producer returns in Canada and higher transport fees associated with swine of this type.

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