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U.S. Pork Exports Continue Surprising Growth Trend

Despite the global economic downturn, U.S. pork exports continue to prosper, according to October numbers compared to a year ago

Despite the global economic downturn, U.S. pork exports continue to prosper, according to October numbers compared to a year ago.

Pork exports rose 46% in volume and 55.5% in value over October 2007.

Pork and pork variety meat sales in October reached 425.4 million lb. valued at $487 million, setting a new record for monthly export value. Export volume climbed 18% over the previous month and trailed only May and June 2008 for the most pork exported in a single month.

For January through October, exports were up 67% to 3.8 billion lb., with value topping $4.1 billion.

Some countries, like China, with large stocks of frozen pork, are having trouble selling under current market conditions. Just a few months ago, prices for meat imports were much higher, says Erin Daley, economist for the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Japan retains its ranking as the number one destination for U.S. pork. October pork sales to Japan set another monthly record at 92.5 million lb. valued at $158.5 million. For the year, U.S. pork exports are up 27% in volume to 832.5 million lb. valued at $1.29 billion. Japan accounts for 39% of U.S. pork export value.

U.S. pork exports to Mexico set a new monthly record in October at 87.8 million lb., and ranks as the second-largest destination for U.S. pork for the month. For the first nine months of 2008, the United States supplied Mexico with 676.9 million lb. of pork worth $549.6 million, an increase of 38% in volume and 52% in value over last year.

The credit crisis, the depreciation of the ruble, falling oil prices and general economic uncertainty didn’t prevent Russia from setting another record for U.S. pork and variety meat imports in October at nearly 70 million lb. For the year, total pork exports to Russia totaled 441.7 million lb. valued at $435.5 million, a 173% increase in volume and 184% increase in value.

For China/Hong Kong, U.S. pork exports in October totaled 60.3 million lb., up 21% from September and 15% above a year ago. For 2008, exports were 789.2 million lb. worth $618.4 million, a 178% increase in volume and 209% increase in value.

For the year, Canada’s purchases of U.S. pork were 307.9 million lb., up 18% from a year ago, while purchases in October dipped below 2007 levels to 30.3 million lb.

South Korean imports of U.S. pork in October increased 24% to 22.7 million lb., and for the year were up 48% to 247.5 million lb. valued at $240.4 million, 33% above last year.

U.S. pork exports to the European Union reached 11.7 million lb. in October, more than double last year’s volume, putting the 10-month total for 2008 at 98.3 million lb. valued at $121.6 million.