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CME: Impressive Movement in Beef Exports

10 October 2016

US - The USDA-ERS released August monthly trade number yesterday. These meat trade numbers are on a carcass weight basis and are calculated from product weight numbers reported by the US Department of Commerce, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

Generally, in the protein complex, August was a good month for exports and largely reflected lower prices across key protein categories (beef and pork) and reopened markets for the poultry industry.

Starting with pork, August exports on a volume basis were 11 per cent above a year ago. Increases were seen to all major international purchasers, however we do continue to see tonnage shifts to Mainland China and away from Taiwan. Seasonally, August volume showed a noticeable and somewhat abnormal increase, when compared to the past five year average which shows stable/flat volume movement from July to September. Year-to-date (through August) pork export tonnage was 1 per cent above 2015’s. The Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) currently forecasts total export volume of pork in 2016 will post about a 1 per cent increase compared to 2015.

Broiler exports experienced another very good month in August, volume increased from their year ago depressed levels. Year-overyear, broiler export tonnage increased 16 per cent in August. The estination of these exports is somewhat interesting, huge year-over-year percentage increases took place with broiler meat shipped to Hong Kong, South Korea, and the Caribbean but year-over-year volume decreases were registered to Angola, Canada, Iraq, and Mexico. Yearto-date broiler exports were about even with year ago levels but LMIC forecasts total exports in 2016 will be 3 per cent above 2015.

Turkey exports experienced their largest volume month since December of 2014 (turkey exports normally post their largest volumes in the fourth quarter). Mexico, our main international turkey
customer, imported 14 per cent more tonnage from the US compared to August of 2015. Hong Kong and Taiwan also imported noticeably more turkey than their respective year ago levels.

Moving on to beef, there was impressive movement in August with regards to exports. Beef export tonnage in August was up 30 per cent compared to 2015, granted this is also comparing to extremely low levels of exports in August of 2015. Year-over-year, increases in beef export tonnage was registered for all of our major trading partners except Canada, who imported 15 per cent less product than a year ago.

Yearto-date, this put beef exports up an impressive 6 per cent. The LMIC forecasts beef exports to be up 8 per cent and the August volume of exports did a lot of leg work to set the stage for meeting that forecast.

Interestingly, at the same time Canada’s imports of US beef were noticeably lower year-over-year, our August purchases of Canadian beef registered as the highest single month since August of 2008, on a volume basis. For perspective, the amount of beef we imported from Canada in August made up 28 per cent of our total monthly beef imports. 

Total beef imports continued to track below year ago levels as expected, with about a 50 per cent decrease in volume from Australia compared to year ago levels.


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