CME: June Meat and Poultry Prices Steady

US - Retail meat and poultry prices were roughly steady in June, according to data released Thursday by USDA’s Economic Research Service, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 22 August 2011
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The monthly average retail prices, which are based on raw data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its inflation monitoring duties, were, with the lone exception of turkey, within one per cent of May price levels.

Turkey prices increased by 1.4 per cent in June. But “steady with the previous month” still means record or near-record levels and well above June 2010 levels for every species except chicken.

The All-Fresh Beef price, which includes both Choice and Select grade beef, set another record in July. The price of $4.445 per pound eclipsed the previous record set in April by only $.001 per pound but a record is a record, right?

The July AllFresh price is 10 per cent higher than last year’s July price. No other prices set a record in July but the Choice beef and pork prices were sharply higher than one year ago, rising 7.6 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively.

Choice beef sold for an average of $4.781 per pound in July while pork sold for $3.466 per pound. The average retail turkey price rose 2.2 cents per pound in July to $1.603. That price is 3.2 per cent higher than one year ago.

Chicken prices were, just as we expected, the laggard among all meats and poultry with the composite retail broiler price actually declining in July by 1.5 cents per pound to $1.740 per pound.

That price is 2.5 per cent lower than one year ago and well below the record of $1.859 per pound set in May 2009.

Recall from recent Daily Livestock Reports, though, that egg sets and chick placements had not been below year-ago levels for long in July. They were 5.8 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively, below last year’s levels last week. We expect to see higher chicken prices soon.

The Economic Research Service also published its estimates of carcass-weight exports for June on Thursday.

Beef exports enjoyed another month of robust export growth with June shipments exceeding year-ago levels by 19.6 per cent.

Major contributors to that growth were Canada (+69 per cent), Japan (+23 per cent) , Russia (+57 per cent) and Mexico (+eight per cent). Shipments to South Korea were 20 per cent lower than one year ago in June. June’s shipments brought year to date (YTD) beef export to 1.335 billion pounds, 25.6 per cent higher than last year.

Pork exports grew – barely – in June versus one year ago, gaining 2.3 per cent. Shipments to China/Hong Kong were nearly double (+95.6 per cent) their level of 2010.

Exports to Canada (+22.8 per cent) and South Korea (+22.3 per cent) were also sharply higher while shipments to Japan (-15.7 per cent) and Mexico (-7.1 per cent) fell.

US companies shipped 2.451 billion pounds, carcass weight, of pork overseas in the first half of the year, 15.2 per cent more than last year.

YTD leading growth markets are Korea (+128 per cent), Russia (+74 per cent) and China/ Hong Kong (+45 per cent).

Japan remains our largest market for pork carcass cuts and shipments there have grown by nine per cent this year.

US chicken exports remained pretty much abysmal in June, falling short of year-ago levels by 14.3 per cent.

After staying just barely ahead of year-ago levels all year, YTD chicken exports fell 1.7 per cent behind the 2010 pace as of June.

Exports were the last piece of data needed to update domestic consumer-level demand indexes. All of the demand indexes improved in June versus one year ago.

That comes after both beef and chicken fell short of year-ago levels in May, a decline that we believe was primarily driven by a slowdown in the food-service sector. The last observation in the chart represents the index for July 2010 to June 2011.

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