USDA Outlook: U.S. pork exports up 25% year-over-year to 505 million lbs. in November as shipments to China reached a record 118 million lbs.; exports forecast to reach 5.1 billion lbs. in 2012; pork imports up 1.7% to 75 million lbs.

WASHINGTON , January 19, 2012 (press release) – The following article is excerpted from the January Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook published by the Economic Research Service of the USDA.

November Pork Exports Were The Highest...Ever

U.S. pork exports in November were more than 505 million pounds, almost 25 percent greater than a year earlier, and a new monthly volume record. Shipments to China made the difference between a “strong” month, and a spectacular one. Exports to China were almost 118 million pounds. This is the most U.S. pork ever shipped to China, and was almost 4 times greater than U.S. exports to China in November 2011.

Twice in the last few years—2008 and 2011—China has imported U.S. pork in quantities sufficient to sharply accelerate U.S pork export volumes, and to move U.S. domestic pork prices higher, for sustained periods. The two Chinese “buys” have each been in response high domestic pork prices, brought about in each instance by disease outbreaks (ie, PRRS, sometimes termed blue ear disease) that reduced domestic pork production flows. Domestic pork production shortfalls and interruptions elevated consumer pork prices to a point where China dramatically increased imports of the animal protein most favored by Chinese consumers.

Total Chinese demand for imported pork in 2012 is expected to be in about the same ballpark as 2011.

Total U.S. pork exports in 2012 are forecast at 5.1 billion pounds, about the same as in 2011.

Pork imports in November, at 75 million pounds, were slightly ahead of a year ago—1.7 percent compared with November 2010—with most of the increase coming from Canada. Imports of live swine from Canada in November ran about 9 percent ahead of a year earlier. Import of early-weaned pigs accounted for most of the increase. Seasonally strong U.S. prices of early-weaned pigs likely drew more animals out of Canada. Since late in the fourth quarter, and currently, cash prices of early-weaned pigs have been running well ahead of formula-priced pigs, as is typical for this time of year.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.