U.S. Pork Exports Defy Expectations

High exports continue.

While the U.S. agriculture community undoubtedly has been feeling the significant effects of the global economic downturn, the export numbers for October continue to show progress over the previous year.

Pork exports in particular held up extremely well, posting the third-largest monthly volume on record that equates to a 46% volume increase over exports from October of 2007 and a 55.5% increase in value.

Specifically, pork and pork variety meat exports in October totaled 192,940 metric tons or 425.4 million pounds, valued at $487 million - a new record for monthly export value. Export volume increased 18% over the previous month and trails only May and June of 2008 for most pork exported in a single month. For January through October, exports were up 67% to 1.7 million metric tons or 3.8 billion pounds, with value surpassing $4.1 billion.

October pork highlights

• Japan - U.S. Pork continues its reign as the king of imported pork in Japan. Exports to Japan set another monthly record at 41,961 metric tons or 92.5 million pounds, valued at $158.5 million. For the year, U.S. pork exports are up 27% in volume to 377,632 metric tons or 832.5 million pounds, valued at $1.29 billion, an increase of 35%.
• Mexico - Exports to Mexico also set a new record for the month at 39,826 metric tons or 87.8 million pounds, surpassing the July record. Mexico was the second-largest destination for U.S. Pork for the month. During the first nine months of 2008, exports to Mexico stand at 307,056 metric tons or 676.9 million pounds, valued at $549.6 million, an increase of 38% in volume and 52% in value over last year. • Russia - Another record was set for U.S. Pork and variety meat imports in October at 31,744 metric tons or nearly 70 million pounds. Total pork exports to Russia for the year have surpassed 200,000 metric tons or 441.7 million pounds, valued at $435.5 million, a 173% increase in volume and 184% increase in value.
• China/Hong Kong - October exports totaled 27,361 metric tons or 60.3 million pounds, up 21% from September and 15% from a year ago. Total 2008 exports equaled 357,962 metric tons or 789.2 million pounds, valued at $618.4 million, a 178% increase in volume and 209% increase in value.
• Canada - October's exports dipped below 2007 levels, but export totals of 13,755 metric tons or 30.3 million pounds, were relatively steady compared to previous months in 2008. For the year (January through October), exports totals of 139,672 metric tons or 307.9 million pounds, are up 18% from last year.
• South Korea - U.S. pork exports in October were 10,283 metric tons or 22.7 million pounds, a 24% increase over October of 2007 and 10% above the prior month. Exports for the first 10 months of 2008 were up 48% to 112,281 metric tons or 247.5 million pounds, valued at $240.4 million, a 33% increase over last year.
• ASEAN - U.S. pork exports to this region were fairly strong at 3,500 metric tons or 7.7 million pounds, in October, led by 2,262 metric tons or nearly 5 million pounds, to the Philippines. For the 10-month period, exports to the region were up 350% to 50,479 metric tons or 111.3 million pounds, equaling a 364% hike in value to $99.8 million. Export volume in the region thus far in 2008 has grown 232% in the Philippines, 967% in Vietnam and 364% in Singapore.

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