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CME: Lowdown on Beef and Pork Exports

by 5m Editor
12 February 2009, at 6:14am

US - CME's Daily Livestock Report for 11 February 2009.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service released export data for December today and both the beef and pork sectors finished 2008 strong with excellent December export performance. The charts show 2008 total product-weight exports for beef and pork. Note that world totals are represented by the blue bars and read off the left axis. Individual countries are represented by the lines and read off the right-hand axis.



Charts for beef and pork export values and variety meat exports appear at the bottom of the page.

Some important items are:

  • Beef exports in totaled 98.6 million pounds, 15.6 per cent higher than in December 2007. Mexico and Canada were the leading destinations for those exports as they were for most months in 2008. Shipments to Korea amounted to 7.0 million pounds, down from its monthly high of 36.7 million pounds in July. The value of December beef exports was 18.1 per cent higher than in 2007.

  • 2008 beef exports finished 34.8 per cent higher than one year ago and back to within 450 million pounds of the pre-BSE levels of 2003. Mexico was that largest customer for US beef at just under 500 million pounds, 11 per cent higher than last year. Canada was the second largest customer for US beef. The big growth markets in percentage terms were Japan and Korea — primarily because of the very low level of exports there in 2007.

  • 2008 beef export value was 40.3 per cent higher than last year (Figure 1) — indicating and improvement in export pricing. Beef variety meat exports ended the year 16.5% with Mexico remaining far and away our largest variety meat customer.

  • Pork exports ended the year 49.4 per cent higher than last year — no surprise there after the remarkable performance of pork shipments last summer. The surprise was that December shipments were up 11 per cent from last year. Many observers thought pork shipments would come up short of last year’s level as world demand cooled and the dollar gained value. Japan is still the clear leader among US pork customers and shipments there grew 20.9 per cent last year. China-Hong Kong, the big story last summer, ended the year as the number two US customer at just under 600 million pounds, 153.2 per cent higher than in 2007. December shipments were marginally higher than those of November but were still 78 per cent lower than last their peak last June. Export to Mexico recovered from a dismal 2007 to set a new record, 52 per cent higher than last year and 9.5 per cent higher than the previous record in 2006.

  • Pork export value (Figure 3) in 2008 was $4.116 billion, 49.5 per cent higher than last year. Japan is far and away the value leader among US pork customers and Canada remains the second highest-value market but China/Hong Kong moved into third, ahead of Mexico, buying nearly $500 million of US pork.