CME: US Broiler Exports Down

US - USDA-FAS released their November trade numbers yesterday, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 8 January 2016
clock icon 4 minute read

FAS (Foreign Agricultural Service) trade data, specific to animal proteins, is available on a product weight basis – the weight of any boxed product shipped out of the US. The ERS data released today is converted to a carcass weight basis, which allows for comparison to domestic production numbers.

While we will wait for the USDA-ERS data that will be published today, to make any comparisons with regards to domestic production levels, the FAS data does provide useful information with regards to value of exports on a monthly basis.

Starting on the fresh and frozen beef side, through November, we know that on a volume basis exports are below 2014 numbers and according to FAS data are down 12 per cent year-over-year to 692,000 metric tons.

On a value basis we also experienced a decrease, down about 13 per cent compared to 2014, at $5 billion through November.

To put this in perspective, through November of 2014 beef exports on a volume basis were even with 2013 and on a value basis were 16 per cent higher than the previous year.

This demonstrates the price profile we saw in the cattle and beef industry this year of high prices through July, then the subsequent price decline which is reflected in lower monthly beef export values from August through November when compared to 2014.

If prices had been lower for the majority of the year, with the 12 per cent decline in exports we would have seen a larger decline in value sold (but then would we have seen such a decline in sold product?).

Beef variety meat exports were down 9 per cent year-over-year on a volume basis to 281,000 metric tons, but up 4 per cent on a value basis.

Whole cattle hide export volume was down 20 per cent and value was down 15 per cent compared to 2014.

The reason for mentioning variety meats and hides, is that those export numbers play a huge role in our domestic beef byproduct value.

On the hog side, through November the FAS data says we are actually 2 per cent above 2014 on a volume basis, with another month-to-month increase from October to November to total 1.6 million metric tons (mmt) for the year so far.

On a value basis though, we are 16 per cent below a year ago from January through November, at $4.4 billion. Pork variety meat exports are 20 per cent below 2014 at 353,000 metric tons and the value is 28 per cent below that of 2014 through November.

Again, very important to the domestic pork byproduct value and a key factor as to why that value has been struggling so much this year. The broiler industry continued to struggle with exports in November.

Year-to-date put broiler export volume was 13 per cent below 2014 to 2.6 mmt, and value at 25 per cent below 2014 to $2.8 million. The FAS data shows a month -to-month decrease in broiler meat exports from October to November, which is seasonally normal but not helpful to the broiler industry.

USDA-FAS weekly export data through December shows slightly increased volumes of beef and pork moving out of the US, compared to November, which is seasonally fairly normal. This data is meant for a gauge, but is good news none the less for the industries.

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