CME: US November Poultry Export Data Shows Another Tough Month

US - USDA-ERS released November trade data recently, and it showed a mixed story for the protein industries, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 11 January 2016
clock icon 4 minute read

Overall, beef and pork exports saw improvements compared to October, and broiler exports continued to suffer.

Pork exports have tracked above year ago levels since August, however the second half of 2014 experienced fairly soft export volumes.

Year-over-year, November pork exports increased 20 per cent, to put year-to-date (through November) overseas sales at 1 per cent above 2014’s.

Looking at exports as a per cent of production, domestic pork production was above year ago numbers during every month of 2015.

With soft export sales the first half of the 2015, exports as a per cent of domestic production tracked below 2014 levels until September where it has since been above 2014’s ratio, as exports have improved.

Pork imports we largely unchanged from October’s level, but compared to November 2014 were 12 per cent higher and year-to-date were 12 per cent above 2014’s.

The increase in beef exports happened too late in the year to make up a significant amount of sales volume that was lost the first three quarters of 2015, however November volumes were the closest we have been to 2014 numbers all year (down only 1 per cent year-over-year).

Compared to November 2014, volume increases showed up in all major countries the US exports beef to, except for Japan which imported 30 per cent less beef from the US compared to 2014.

Year-to-date beef exports were 12 per cent below 2014’s. Putting exports in context of domestic beef production, November saw commercial production increase year-overyear.

With the improvement in beef exports though, the ratio stood at 10.6 per cent of production. This is compared to 11 per cent in 2014 and 9.6 per cent for the past five year average.

In other good news, beef imports continued to decrease significantly from the high levels we saw the first three quarters of 2015.

November imports were 27 per cent below 2014’s, but cumulative through November imports were 20 per cent above 2014’s.

Broiler exports had another tough month in November, down 5 per cent compared to October and 14 per cent below year ago volumes for the month.

Seasonally, broiler exports should have been increasing from May through October, but the opposite happened in 2015.

Year-to-date broiler exports were 13 per cent below 2014’s and largely reflect closed international markets due to HPAI found in domestic turkey and egg laying flocks in 2015.

While some of these markets have reopened, the increased value of the dollar has not helped the industry gain back any of the lost market share.

Turkey exports also continued to falter. Down 41 per cent year-over-year in November and a result of the combined factors mentioned above along with a decrease in turkey production due to lost birds in early 2015.

While the lacklustre overseas sales for the broiler and turkey industries are not helping clear out any product in cold storage, improving conditions in pork and beef exports is encouraging for the markets.

Beef prices are forecast to cyclically erode at least over the next few years, pork production is forecast to be steady to slightly increasing in 2016 and prices should remain fairly stable. These factors, combined with an eventual improvement in world economies, should improve overseas demand for US protein products.

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