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CME: August Beef Exports Above, Pork Below, Year Ago Levels

28 October 2013

US - Beef exports declined from July’s level but remained well above year-ago levels in August, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

Total beef exports amounted to 79,674 metric tons, 9.9 per cent less than one month earlier but 7.6 per cent more than in August 2012. Year-to-date beef exports now stand at 559,998 metric tons 3.2 per cent higher than last year. As can be seen below, August marks the fourth straight month and the fifth so far in 2013 in which beef exports have been higher than one year earlier.

The year-to-date pace through August still trails 2011’s record Jan- August pace of 618,380 metric tons by roughly 10 per cent. Shipments to Japan continue to perform well with August gaining 32 per cent versus one year ago and YTD shipments up 50 per cent from 2012 at 147,889 metric tons. Exports to Mexico were up 29 per cent from one year ago in August.

August’s beef exports were valued at $499.09 million, 16.6 per cent higher than one year ago and record high for August. That figure brings the year-to-date value of U.S. beef exports to a record $3.528 billion, 10.6 per cent higher than one year ago. Higher U.S. beef prices do not seem to be putting much of a damper on exports relative to 2012. Japan remains our largest-value beef market, taking ,$844.8 million of beef cuts through August. That figure is up 34 per cent from 2012.

After a one-month foray into positive territory, pork exports in August once again fell below the year-earlier level. August shipments of 135,441 metric tons were down slightly from July but were 4.6 per cent lower than one year ago. US pork processors have now shipped 1.09 million metric tons of US pork muscle cuts overseas this year, 8.5 per cent less than one year ago. The pork exported in August was valued at $427.7 million, 1.1 per cent lower than last year. Obviously, per unit prices for pork exports are higher this year for value to be that close to one year ago at the same time volume is still significantly lower.

Mexico was the largest destination for pork muscle cuts in August with 36,573 metric tons heading southward. That figure is 2.7 per cent lower than last year. August performance also leaves Mexico as the largest customer for US pork so far in 2013, taking 287,256 metric tons of product, 2 per cent more than in 2012.

Japan was in the number two spot for both August and year-to-date through August but remains far and away the leading value market for US pork. Japan’s purchases in August, though only 8.6 per cent smaller than those of Mexico were valued at $151.9 million, 84 per cent more than the value of Mexico’s purchases. Those differences, of course, are due to the price sensitivity of the Mexican market and Japan’s gate price tariff scheme that forces exporters to ship mainly high-value cuts.

Exports to China/ Hong Kong moved above year-ago levels for the first time this year with August shipments gaining 16 per cent versus 2012. Year-to-date exports to China/Hong Kong still trail the 2012 pace by 24 per cent but recall that the first half of 2012 was impacted by the huge surge in exports to China/Honk Kong that began in 2011. The August increase continues a pattern of long-term growth for this market that we expect to continue. The real question is whether the Smithfield-Shuanghui deal will change the pace of that growth once it takes effect.

Daily Livestock Report - Copyright © 2008 CME. All rights reserved.

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