Prices remain high in China, which will keep demand for imports strong, said Brett Stuart, co-founder of AgriTrends. "They're going to continue to be significant buyers of all imported pork, and specifically U.S. pork," he said.
Demand from South Korea also will be strong. The country will buy 16 percent to 19 percent less pork than 2011, but the volumes will be as much as 35 percent above the five-year average, according to Stuart. The country’s outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2011 led to a culling of about 30 percent of its hog inventory, and some of those farms won’t come back into production.