U.S. pork exports may surpass the $5 billion mark by the end of 2011, breaking the 2008 record of $4.88 billion, according to Erin Daley Borror, U.S. Meat Export Federation economist.

In the first five months of 2011, U.S. pork exports were up 16% in volume (to 916,763 metric tons) and 22% in value (to $2.35 billion) over 2010 numbers. This is due in large part to exceptional results in South Korea, China and Japan, said Borror. Exports to Korea have already exceeded the totals achieved in all of 2010, in part because of a major swine herd culling due to foot-and-mouth disease. China is also currently experiencing short hog supplies, which has had a significant impact on the market.


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