US pork exports in 2009 on the way up again

US pork exports continued their rebound from the slump earlier in the year, with pork exports reaching their highest level of 2009 in November.

For the month, total pork (muscle cuts plus variety meat) exports reached 169,547 metric tonnes (373.8 million pounds) – essentially even with the volume for November during the record-shattering pace of 2008, according to statistics released  by the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

This marked the first time monthly pork exports have reached or exceeded 2008 levels since March of 2009.

While the export increase is a positive sign that economic indicators around the globe are pointing up, total pork exports remain behind 2008 levels. For the first 11 months of 2009, the US has exported 1.7 million metric tonnes (3.7 billion pounds) of pork valued at nearly US$4 billion.

Pork is down 10% in volume and 13% in value.

Pork stimulus package
“We are devoting significant resources to pork marketing this quarter with the support of US$1.35 million in additional funding from the soybean industry at the end of 2009,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO.

"The response from the soybean industry to support pork exports is very gratifying,” said Seng, referring to the '2009 Pork Stimulus Package' funded by the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, United Soybean Board, Nebraska Soybean Board and South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.

By combining the fund with matching funds from the Market Access Program, the Foreign Market Development Program, third-party contributions and other non-checkoff funds, USMEF has been able to leverage the contributions into a pool of more than US$4 million for a concerted pork marketing push in Japan, Mexico and South Korea.

Pork exports: Mexico
Mexico remains the volume leader for total US pork exports, purchasing 451,483 metric tonnes (995.3 million pounds) valued at more than US$672 million through the first 11 months of 2009 – a 30% hike in volume and 9% in value over last year.

Japan remains the value leader for US pork, importing 388,596 metric tonnes (746.5 million pounds) valued at more than US$1.4 billion – a 7% drop in volume and 1% drop in value compared to last year.

Pork exports: China & Russia
The biggest contributors to the decline in US pork exports in 2009 are China and Russia, both of which imposed barriers to US pork related to the H1N1 virus while attempting to rebuild domestic swine herds. Pork exports to the greater Hong Kong/China region are down 39% in volume and 42% in value thus far this year, while exports to Russia are down 38% in volume and 41% in value. Together, they account for 80% of the year's drop-off in the value of US pork exports and 116% of the volume decline.

The most significant gains in 2009 pork exports have been reported in Mexico, the Philippines (38% increase in volume and 32% in value), Taiwan (38% in volume and 28% in value) and the Caribbean (21% in volume and 13% in value).

Related websites:
US Meat Export Federation

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