Update on Canada’s First-Quarter Pork, Beef Trade


Canada’s pork/pork variety meat exports slowed in March, down 5 percent from a year ago to 91,418 metric tons (mt). Export growth to the United States, Japan, Russia, Mexico and Taiwan was offset by smaller volumes to China, the Philippines, and South Korea. Other than being a primary supplier to Russia (Brazil being the other), Canada’s March trends were similar to U.S. pork, with growth in chilled and ground seasoned pork to Japan, and strong exports to Mexico reflecting Mexico’s tight supply situation. U.S. net imports from Canada in March (12,642 mt) were the largest since October 2010.


For the first quarter, Canada’s pork/pvm exports were down 3 percent to 262,825 mt, with steady exports to the U.S. (79,587 mt) and strong growth to Russia (36,620 mt, +46 percent) and Mexico (18,246 mt, +47 percent). But exports were lower for Japan (43,277 mt, -9 percent), China (32,628 mt, -26 percent), the Philippines (10,194 mt, -15 percent), and Korea (7,129 mt, -39 percent).

Canada’s first quarter pork/pvm imports were down 17 percent to 40,802 mt. Imports from the United States (38,704 mt) were also down 17 percent, but U.S. pork still accounts for 95 percent of Canada’s import volume. Although still very small, first-quarter imports increased from both Germany (661 mt, +34 percent) and Denmark (398 mt, +40 percent).

Canada’s hog slaughter is down 2 percent year-to-date (6.1 million head) and live hog exports to the U.S. are down 11 percent (1.5 million head). This includes 1.23 million head of feeder pigs, down 12 percent.

Canada’s beef/beef variety meat exports in March were up 2 percent from a year ago to 27,284 mt. Higher U.S. prices and a recovery in Canada’s beef production (slaughter is up 5 percent year-to-date) favored beef exports to the United States (22,898 mt, +20 percent). Exports to Mexico and Japan were also larger, helping offset smaller volumes to Hong Kong and China.

Canada’s first-quarter beef/bvm exports were also higher (71,372 mt, +10 percent), with growth to the U.S. (54,250 mt, +12 percent), Mexico (5,742 mt, +110 percent), China (1,624 mt, +91 percent) and Japan (2,335 mt, +16 percent). Similar to the U.S., Canada has been shipping more beef to Mexico, indicative of the tight supply situation. Canada’s exports to China started the year very strong, but were actually lower year-over-year in March.

Canada’s beef imports in the first quarter were down 17 percent to 46,106 mt. A sharp decline in imports from the United States (29,905 mt, -29 percent) was partially offset by larger imports from Australia (6,806 mt, +88 percent). In March, U.S. net imports of Canadian beef were 14,256 mt, the largest since July 2010.

Canadian cattle exports to the U.S. are higher year-to-date (463,643 head, +15 percent), with larger exports of feeder cattle (177,586 head, +46 percent) offsetting smaller numbers of direct slaughter fed cattle and cows/bulls.

Sources: Global Trade Atlas and USDA/AMS (slaughter and live trade data is through April 26)