September 20, 2008


US pork output to increase; chicken exports to peak


US pork production for 2008 is expected to increase 7 percent on-year to 10.66 million tonnes, while broiler exports for this year are projected to peak at 6.67 billion pounds, up 13 percent on-year.


All increase in pork production is expected to be absorbed by export markets, with US pork exports projected to raise 73 percent on-year or 2.47 million tonnes, according to the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.


US per capita pork consumption this year is forecast to fall 6 percent, with further decline in 2009. Poultry consumption is the only meat protein expected to increase this year in the US, with beef consumption also projected to drop.


US hog prices, driven by demand from export markets (especially China), reached record levels in August. Exports to China are expected to slow in the second half of 2008, as China steps up on domestic pork production. This may lead to the US market having more pork supplies, which would support lower retail prices, but demand from other markets such as Japan and Mexico remains strong.


US pork retail prices also increased 3 percent on-year in August.


Broiler exports in the fourth quarter of 2008 are expected to slow due to high leg quarter prices in the past several months. Exports to China were strong from January to July 2008 but have been expected to decline with the end of the Olympics.


In comparison to this year's buoyant outlook, exports next year are expected to fall to 6.28 billion pounds, mostly due to trade uncertainties.


Broiler exports in July reached 646 million pounds, up 34 percent on-year. The large increase in shipments and continued strength of leg quarter prices support third-quarter estimations of an export growth of 100 million pounds to 1.75 billion.


Exports from January to July totalled 3.9 billion pounds, up 22 percent on-year, with Russia and China being the largest markets. In the first seven months of 2008, broiler exports value reached US$2 billion, up 37 percent on-year.


Average unit value for broiler exports so far this year have also increased due to the rising price of leg quarters.

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