CME: US Broiler Exports in March Up 11%

US - US red meat and poultry exports were explosive in March, with both export volume and revenue up in double digits compared to year ago levels, reports Steiner Consulting Group, DLR Division, Inc.
calendar icon 8 May 2017
clock icon 4 minute read

Below is a brief summary of the highlights for each species. Keep in mind that the export volume data is in metric ton, product weight basis. USDA/ERS issued its calculations on a carcass weight basis, which will allow us to better compare with the monthly production numbers and implied domestic availability.

US meat supplies have expanded rapidly but a significant portion of that growth went to feed the rest of the world. It is good news for US producers and something that domestic buyers need to consider in their planning decisions. The spike in fed cattle values this spring is a reminder of the risks of staying short bought going into the biggest grilling weekend of the year.

Beef: Exports of fresh, frozen or cooked beef and veal in March were 77,743 MT, 15,407 MT (+24.7 per cent) higher than a year ago. This was the largest monthly beef export volume since June 2014. We think this is evidence that it was a combination of both domestic and export demand which pushed beef packers to ramp up slaughter during the first quarter. Beef export revenue (excluding variety meats) was $510.8 million, almost $100 million (+24.2 per cent) higher than last year. The value of beef shipped in March was not much different than a year ago, implying that it was the increase in availability rather than a cheaper price that drove exports. The two biggest contributors to the growth in beef exports were Japan and S. Korea. Lower slaughter and higher prices for Australian/New Zealand beef supported US beef exports to these markets. Beef and veal exports to Japan in March were 23,222 MT, 43 per cent higher than a year ago. Exports to South Korea at 13,052 MT were 27 per cent higher than last year.

Pork: Weekly export data suggested that pork exports in March would be large and indeed they were. Total shipments of fresh, frozen and cooked pork for the month were 176,574 MT, 22,671 MT (+15 per cent) higher than a year ago. This was another all time record monthly volume, surpassing the record amount that was shipped in November 2016. We will wait for the carcass weight data but it is likely that the percentage of pork exports relative to national production was the largest ever as well. Even more encouraging is that the value of pork exported increased by more than volume shipped, evidence of excellent demand for US pork. Export revenue in March was $483.4 million, $78.7 million (+19 per cent) higher than a year ago. This was only for pork meat products. The value of pork variety meat in March was $79.7 million, a whopping $22.2 million (+39 per cent) higher than last year. The combined value of pork and pork variety meat exports in March increased by more than $100 million. FI hog slaughter in March was 10.6 million head and the $100 million increase in export value contributed about $10 per head of hog processed. Some of this went into higher packer margins but some of it also helped bolster the price the packer paid for hogs during that period. Net hog prices in March averaged around $71/cwt, substantially more than earlier expected. We think this was in part due to the very robust pork export demand.

Broilers: Exports of fresh/frozen broiler meat in March were 269,744 MT, 29,485 MT (+11 per cent) higher than a year ago. One of the biggest growth markets in March was Cuba, with exports there up 12,517 MT (+58 per cent).

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