Growth in US and Canadian pig meat exports

Thursday, 25 February 2021

By Bethan Wilkins

US pig meat and offal exports increased by 11% in 2020, compared to the year before, reaching 3.08 million tonnes. This is despite volumes stalling in the latter part of the year, with shipments actually a little below 2019 levels in the final quarter.

China became the largest importer of US pig meat, accounting for 31% of total shipments and volumes increasing by nearly 80% on 2019 levels. Mexico moved into second position, with its percentage share of total US exports decreasing, although there was only a small decline in product shipped.

Exports to a number of mid-sized markets recorded noticeable falls, although these changes were dwarfed by the growth in volumes to China. Shipments to Hong Kong halved and South Korean trade fell by 22% to 166,000 tonnes.

The average price of pig meat and offal exports overall was the same as the year before, at $2.60/kg. In total, this left the value of US pig meat exports at €8 billion, 11% up on 2019. Although the dollar was strong against the Brazilian Real, reducing competitiveness against this other key exporter, it did weaken against the Euro, increasing competitiveness against European meat. ASF in Germany has hindered the ability of exporters there to compete with US product.

Canadian pig meat exports recorded a larger increase in 2020, 20% compared to year earlier levels. Unlike for the US, an increase was seen throughout the year, with a 19% rise in exports during Q4 compared to 2020.

China again became the main destination for Canadian pig meat, with shipments increasing by 140% to 600,000 tonnes, which is 43% of total exports. Growth to China was particularly strong in the latter half of the year, as China had banned Canadian pork imports between July and November 2019. In the most recent months, there have again been some de-listings of individual plants due to COVID outbreaks.

Volumes destined for most other locations declined. Mexican shipments in particular fell by 30% and trade with Taiwan was less than half of the 2019 level.

The value of Canadian pig meat shipments increased by 21% in 2020, reaching C$4.9 billion. Average prices were a little higher than the year before, influenced by the slightly weaker Canadian dollar.

Bethan Wilkins

Senior Analyst - Red Meat

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