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CME: Pork Exports Higher Than a Year Ago

by 5m Editor
15 January 2009, at 7:22am

US - CME's Daily Livestock Report for 14 January 2009.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported yesterday that US beef and pork exports continued to grow relative to one year ago but that the rate of growth for both continues to slow. That is no surprise given the world economic slowdown and the higher US dollar which peaked out during the month of November. The graphs show year-to-date export quantities for beef and pork for 2008 and the preceding 6 years. World exports are represented by the bars and read off the left-hand axis while individual countries are represented by the lines and read on the right-hand axis.



Some key results for November are:

  • Continued recovery for US beef exports which now stand 36.6 per cent higher than one year ago. November shipments were 14.1 per cent higher than last year. That is the lowest monthly year-on-year increase of 2008. Korea led the increase in percentage terms (+12,507 per cent) due to year-ago numbers being near zero. Exports to Japan were 32 per cent higher in November and now stand 56 per cent higher than one year ago. Mexico and Canada remain our two largest beef export markets but shipment to both countries were smaller than one year ago in October and November as the dollar gained strength versus the peso and Canadian dollar

  • Pork exports remain 54 per cent higher than one year ago and exceeded 3.3 billion pounds through November. That figure, when converted to carcass weight equivalence, amounts to 20.4 per cent of total commercial pork production for the first eleven months of the year. Japan remains the largest destination for US pork. November exports, though, were only 4.4 per cent higher than last year with sharply lower exports to China/Hong Kong (-53 per cent), Korea (-22 per cent) and Russia (-34 per cent) almost completely offsetting growth to Japan (11 per cent), Canada (8 per cent) and Mexico (59 per cent). China/Hong Kong remained the second largest YTD destination for US pork at 572 million pounds but monthly shipments have slowed dramatically since June. November exports to China/Hong Kong of 19.28 million pounds were only 20 per cent the levels of May and June and were more than one-third lower than in October.

  • The export value graphs below demonstrate the clear importance of Canada, Japan and Korea as a beef market and Japan as a pork market. Canada, Japan and Korea account for a much higher proportion of the value of US beef exports than they do for quantity as they buy higher-valued cuts. The same is true in spades for Japan regarding pork. China purchases roughly two-thirds as much US pork as Japan but those purchases have barely one-third the value of the Japanese shipments. Export values for beef were up more than were export quantities, meaning the prices of beef exports were actually higher through November. The percentage increase in pork value was only fractionally lower than the percentage increase in tonnage meaning that export prices were, on average, about equal to 2007 through November. Constant prices and 54 per cent more volume is not a bad outcome, don’t you think?


There is clearly room for concern regarding 2009 exports. While YTD results have been great for 2008, the monthly data exhibit a marked slowdown. Just how much of a slowdown remains to be seen.