Pork exports hit records in 2004


DES MOINES, Iowa – Exports were a bright spot for U.S. hog producers in 2004, according to recently released data from the USDA.
For the year, U.S. pork exports broke the 2003 record by 35 percent, making 2004 the 13th consecutive year of record exports.
Market share boost. U.S. share of world trade increased by 2.9 percentage points during the year, to 11.5 percent.
And the value of U.S. pork exports rose 41 percent to $2.227 billion, a new record.
U.S. pork sales in Mexico increased 65 percent to 361,587 metric tons in 2004, beating out Japan for the largest U.S. pork export market by 48,013 metric tons.
The value of these exports to Mexico totaled $567 million.
Per-head value. According to the USDA statistics, pork exports returned $9.62 per hog to producers in 2004, adding over $4 billion in gross income to producers since 1987.
Hog futures topped $75, largely due to increased export demand, reports the National Pork Board.
Globally, pork remains the most widely consumed meat protein.
China, the EU, Canada, the U.S. and Brazil collectively produced more than 80 million tons of pork in 2004.
Outlook. Production for the selected reporting countries is expected to increase slightly, by about 1 percent during the year 2005.
Exports remain strong in 2005, Steve Murphy, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board.
“We’re on pace in 2005 to eclipse the growth rate of 2004,” Murphy told reporters at World Pork Expo earlier this summer.
He said net pork exports for January through March 2005 were 2.7 percent higher than the same period one year ago and are responsible for an estimated 14 percent increase in live hog prices for the first quarter of 2005.”
“U.S. pork exports topped 2 billion pounds on a carcass-weight basis for the first time ever last year,” added Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri economist.
Who’s buying. Japan, Mexico and Canada were the top three foreign destinations for U.S. pork.
Compared with 2003, Japan purchased 16 percent more U.S. pork in 2004, Mexico purchased 53 percent more and Canada purchased 21 percent more.
“Last year was the best one for pork producers since 1990,” said Grimes. “A combination of records were set in the areas of production, slaughter and the cut-out value, resulting in the highest hog prices since 1990.”
Very good year. Total U.S. hog industry revenues amounted to nearly an extra $1.2 billion for producers during last year.
Profits from foreign trade exceeded $1 billion for pork and pork by-products. Continued export success is predicted for 2005, Grimes said.
He added that the three biggest months for pork exports were in the last quarter of 2004.

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