CME: US Poultry Exports Remain Below 2015's in January Data

US - USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) this week published their monthly international trade compilation for US livestock and meat, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 9 March 2016
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Those data are for the month of January and for meat ERS converts the raw data reported as “product weight” from the Department of Commerce into an estimated volume based on “carcass weight”.

Here the focus will be on the international trade tonnage of: 1) meat and poultry items; and 2) live animals. That is, we will not be discussing the important non-meat livestock sector exported items like variety meats and hides.

As can been seen in the associated graphics, beef and pork exports are rather seasonal. Overall, many of the year-over-year directional changes recorded in US exports and imports during January are expected to persist for several more months and could for the balance of this year.

In January, compared to a year ago, US beef exports were stronger. On a tonnage basis, in January, beef exports posted the first year-over-year increase since September 2014.

For the month, beef tonnage sold overseas was 7.4 per cent above 2015’s. Year-over-year, strong sales gains occurred to South Korea and to Japan. Compared to two years ago (January 2014), export tonnage was down 13 per cent.

Pork export tonnage in January was 10.1 per cent above 2015’s. That continued the trend of recent months.

The largest gain in both the tonnage exported and the percentage growth was for pork shipments to China. Still, US exports to China remain well below levels achieved just a few years ago.

For example, in January of this year US pork tonnage sold to China was down 69 per cent from the January 2012 level.

January’s poultry export tonnage remained below 2015’s. Due to Avian Influenza restrictions placed on the US by several foreign countries, January’s broiler export tonnage slipped 6.2 per cent compared to 2015’s.

High US turkey prices were a driver of lower exports, which plummeted 34.6 per cent year-over-year. Most turkey exports go to Mexico.

Switching to imports, the trends were generally as expected.

In January, beef tonnage imported dropped 3.2 per cent year-over-year because imports from Australia fell by 12.4 per cent.

US pork imports for the month were 6.6 per cent above 2015’s, with most of the increase coming from Poland, Canada, and Denmark. The value of the US dollar and the Russian embargo on importing from Europe, etc., continue to redirect international pork product flows.

Touching on live animal trade, which essentially occurs between the US and other North American countries (Canada and Mexico), recent trends continued but became even more apparent.

In terms of cattle, US imports from Mexico during January dropped 33.5 per cent year-on-year (down over 26,000 head) and animals from Canada slipped 8.5 per cent.

US hog imports from Canada were 3.2 per cent above a year earlier.

The general trends of smaller cattle imports and larger pig/hog imports are forecast to continue throughout 2016.

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