DENVER – US pork exports are up 16 percent in volume (916,763 metric tons) and 22 percent in value ($2.35 billion) over 2010 through the first five months of 2011, according to the US Meat Export Federation. This is due in large part to exceptional results in South Korea, China and Japan.

Erin Daley Borror, USMEF economist, noted exports to South Korea have already exceeded the totals achieved in the entire calendar year of 2010, in part because of a major swine herd culling due to foot-and-mouth disease. China also finds itself in a time of short hog supplies, which has had a major impact on the pork offal market.

Exports to Japan are coming off a record-setting value year in 2010, yet exports are up 18 percent to more than $790 million. Borror also noted pork exports to Mexico — the largest volume market for US pork — had slowed in April but rebounded strongly in May.

As a result, global exports are running ahead of the all-time record pace set in 2008. If market conditions hold up reasonably well in the second half of the year, Borror said US pork export value will likely eclipse the $5 billion mark for the first time ever in 2011 — breaking the 2008 record of $4.88 billion.