The U.S. pig meat industry is expected to ship 1.4 billion pounds of pork products to foreign destinations in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of more than 22% over the same period in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.

Sales are expected to be strong to Asia, where demand for U.S. pork is expected to increase year-over-year due to a combination of factors, including continued low-exchange values of the U.S. dollar and government efforts to moderate consumer pork price increases brought about, in part, by recent outbreaks of various swine diseases. With larger fourth-quarter exports, total exports for 2011 are expected to reach slightly more than 5.1 billion pounds, an increase of 21% over exports in 2010.


Export growth in 2012 is expected to tail off as Asian pork production increases and consumer food price inflation abates. Total U.S. pork exports in 2012 are expected to be about the same as 2011, 5.1 billion pounds.

U.S. pork exports in October were over 482 million pounds, more than 42% above October 2010 shipments. Similar to patterns set early in 2011, 80% of October exports went to five countries: Japan (+37.8% year-over-year), China (almost four times greater than 2010 numbers), Mexico (+.3% year-over-year), Canada (+27.4% year-over-year) and South Korea (+64.5 percent year-over-year).