U.S. hog, pork exports break record in '08

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON – In 2008, the total dollar value of U.S. hog/pork exports surged to $5.3 billion, well above the prior record of $3.5 billion in 2007 (a yearly gain of $1.8 billion), according to the Livestock Marketing Information Center. The dollar value of pork and sausage exports also set a new record, at $4.16 billion in 2008 vs. $2.75 billion in 2007.

Record-export values were also seen for pork variety meats and lards, oils and other fats in response to spillover demand from the oil and feedstuff sectors. Variety meats nearly doubled in value in 2008 compared to 2007’s, while the value of lards, oils and other fats were up more than 30%. 

Last year, the total value of U.S hog/pork product imports was $1.5 billion, about 12% ($211 million) below the prior year and the smallest value since 2003. The value of live hogs and pigs imported was 26% lower than 2007’s, while imports of pork and sausages were down 9%. The import value of variety meats increased, while the import value of lards, oils and other fats was about even with 2007.

On a value basis, the U.S. has been a net exporter (value of exports larger than imports) in the hog/pork sector items since 1992. In 2008, that value increased to a record $3.79 billion. Overall, the data for 2008 reinforce the crucial role of international trade for the U.S. hog/pork industry. However, the international economic recession will likely pull-down that value in 2009, still the U.S. is expected to solidly remain as a net exporter this year, L.M.I.C. said.

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