Exports from both the US and Canada fall
In the first quarter of 2015, pork exports from the US fell by 15% compared to a year earlier, while Canada shipped 3% less.
In the first quarter of 2015, pork exports from the US fell by 15% compared to a year earlier, totalling 352,600 tonnes. This fall comes despite US pork production in the same period increasing, as the current strength of the dollar led to products from the US being less competitive on the global market. Higher volumes of competitively priced pork for export from the EU are providing increased competition for US pork shipments. In addition, labour disputes at some West Coast ports slowed exports to some key Asian markets. Consequently, much of the fall was driven by declining exports to Japan and China, down 9% and 81% respectively. Although total exports were down, shipments to Mexico, the largest market for US pork actually grew 7%, while exports to South Korea increased 46%. The drop in volume was compounded by a fall in average unit price in dollar terms, leading the total value of US exports to be down 19% at $992.2 million.
Falls were also seen in Canadian exports in the first three months of the year, with total export volumes down 3% at 211,600 tonnes. In spite of this decline, shipments to many of the largest markets actually increased, with exports to the US up 30%, those to Japan increasing 7%, Mexico up 43% and South Korea 51%. Most of the fall was due to the Russian ban on imports from Canada, reducing shipments to Russia, the third largest market a year ago, to almost nothing. In the first quarter of 2014, Canada benefitted from Russian bans placed on pork from the EU and the US. Exports to China also dropped by more than half compared with a year earlier. A small fall in the average unit value of shipments led to the total value of Canadian exports falling 4% to C$682.5 million.