Economic output in Canada’s $21 billion meat and poultry processing sector held steady with prior year output in the first ten months of 2008. Domestic consumption weakened but real GDP (value added) managed an anemic 0.2% growth thanks to a net 10% gain in international trade. The value of exports rose 8% as imports grew by 5%, increasing Canada’s trade balance 10.5% to $2.35 billion.
The volume of beef and veal exports grew by 7% to 331,000 tonnes on the strength of 50% gains from markets other than our top two (United States and Mexico) which increased their purchases by less than four percent. Pork exports grew by 11% to 915,000 tonnes despite a 17% decline in shipments to the United States, our number two market. Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Russia and the Philipines were particularly strong markets.
Output in primary processing (slaughter) declined 5% but this was offset by 4% growth in secondary processing and rendering of red meats and 3% growth in poultry processing.