U.S. pork exports in October posted its third-highest value for 2010, coming in at $407.8 million, trailing only May ($419.3 million) and June ($425.3 million). The October value ranked 7% higher than September and 9% higher than October 2009, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

Overall, pork export values for 2010 have posted a 9% increase to $3.49 billion. Pork exports are up 2% in volume over 2009 to 1.53 million tons. For the first 10 months of the year, U.S. pork exports are just 3.5% behind the all-time record pace of 2008 for export value. The ratio of U.S. pork production exported is 23.5%. The value per hog slaughtered from export sales is $43.47.

“When we shattered all pork export records in 2008, most analysts estimated that we could not get back to that same level for several years,” says Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “But despite ongoing market access issues and some trade barriers that have recently surfaced, the U.S. industry is mounting a challenge to the 2008 record. We’re looking at a solid finish to 2010.”

Mexico has already broken the single-year value record ($762.3 million) it set last year with 481,377 tons valued at $795.3 million, exceeding last year’s record pace by 7% in volume and 31% in value. Exports to Mexico have been restricted the past few months by a 5% retaliatory tariff imposed from the trade dispute involving Mexican trucking.

“While USMEF is pleased with the market penetration we have achieved in Mexico and the new opportunities we have developed, we can’t take this success for granted,” Seng says. “This market is more critical to us than ever, and we need to keep working to resolve this trade impasse.”

The Japanese market for U.S. pork remains strong, reaching 394,436 tons worth more than $1.35 billion. This is up only slightly in volume for the year, but 4% higher in value.
Pork exports to Canada so far are 149,124 tons valued at $511.8 million, an increase of 8% in volume and 21% in value over last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has forecast pork exports of 4.675 billion pounds in 2011, 9% higher than this year and eclipsing the previous record of 4.651 billion pounds set in 2008, says ag economist Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics, in the Daily Livestock Report produced for the CME Group.