November 26, 2008


US 2009 pork exports expected to climb


University of Missouri agricultural economist Ron Plain said he expected pork exports to fetch more money for US producers in 2009.


He pointed out that export demand is what is driving hog prices.


In 2008, January-September, the value of total US pork exports was US$3.114 billion or US$36.11 per hog slaughtered, according to USDA data. That compares with the 2007 value at US$2.752 billion or US$25.21 per hog slaughtered and is well above the 2003 value of US$1.393 billion or US$13.80 per hog slaughtered.


Japan was the No. 1 overseas buyer of US pork in 2007, buying 35.1 percent of all U.S. pork exports, Plain said. Mexico was No. 2 at 14.7 percent, Canada was No. 3 at 12 percent and China-Hong Kong was No. 4 at 11.6 percent. South Korea and Russia came in at 8.7 percent and 8.0 percent, respectively.


He added that US hog prices may still increase a little in 2009, but it is hard to be optimistic about domestic demand.


His forecast for the benchmark Iowa-southern Minnesota negotiated price per carcass hundredweight in 2009 was for an average annual price in 2009 of US$67 to US$72. His forecast, broken down by quarter, included a price range of US$58 to US$63 in the first quarter; US$70 to US$75 in the second quarter; US$73 to US$78 in the third quarter and US$66 to US$71 in the fourth quarter.


The US$67 to US$72 price prediction would be above the projected 2008 average price range of US$63 to US$64 and the actual average price for 2007 of US$61.91, he said.


On a live hog basis in the Iowa-southern Minnesota market, Plain anticipates the average annual price range of US$51 to US$55 per cwt for 2009. That would also be slightly above the projected price of US$48 to US$49 in 2008 and the actual average price of US$47.05 in 2007.


Plain's forecast by quarters for live hog trade per cwt in Iowa-southern Minnesota in 2009 included: US$44 to US$48 in the first quarter; US$53 to US$57 in the second quarter; US$55 to US$59 in the third quarter and US$50 to US$54 in the fourth quarter.


Plain said production of all four meats typically consumed in the United States -- pork, beef, chicken and turkey -- is expected to be down from this year's production. If that materializes, it would be the first time since 1973 that production in all four categories was less than the previous year.


He expected overall hog slaughter of 113.670 million head in 2009, down 2.7 percent from 116.830 million head projected in 2008, but up from 109.172 million head in 2007.

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