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CME: Beef & Pork Exports at Record High

by 5m Editor
18 October 2011, at 9:34am

US - The data on red meat exports released on Friday confirmed what beef and pork prices have been showing for sometime - US beef and pork exports exploded in August, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

In the case of pork, August pork prices hit all time record highs and, at the time, much of the talk in the market centered around the impact of large Chinese (and other market) purchases. It appears that speculation was right on target.

Pork: Total US pork exports in August were pegged at 433.4 million pounds (carcass wt. basis), 131.5 million pounds or 43.6% higher than last August.

This was the second highest monthly export volume for the year. Back in March, pork exports reached a record 490 million pounds. The main driver behind the surge August exports was indeed China, although other markets also showed strong growth.

US pork exports to mainland China in August were 65.5 million pounds, an almost four fold increase in shipments compared to a year ago.

These higher shipments accounted for almost 40 per cent of the overall increase in exports during August. Exports to Hong Kong also rose 82 per cent compared to a year ago to 13.3 million pounds.

Almost as important as the increase in Chinese exports was the strong performance in the Japanese market. Total US pork exports to Japan in August were 123.2 million pounds, 32.6 million pounds, or 35.2 per cent higher than a year ago.

The increase in shipments to China, Hong Kong and Japan accounted for more than two thirds of the overall rise in US pork exports for the month. Shipments to Mexico have been steady to lower for much of the year.

August exports were reported at 84.7 million pounds, 1.1 per cent lower than a year ago. Exports to Canada at 44.6 million pounds were 24.5 per cent higher than last year.

Russia also emerged as a significant market for US pork in August. Total shipments for the month were pegged at 22.3 million pounds, 13 million pounds or 142 per cent higher than a year ago.

Beef: USDA reported total US beef exports in August at 262 million pounds (carcase wt.), 62 million pounds or 28.5 per cent higher than a year ago.

Similar to pork, the increase in beef exports has been driven by strong growth in Asian markets as well as a higher shipments to Canada.

Indeed, Canada was the top market for US beef exports this past summer, with August ship ments reported at 53.5 million pounds, 52.7 per cent higher than a year ago. The increase in Canadian exports accounted for almost a third of the overall rise in US beef exports in August.

Exports to Mexico at 47.7 million pounds were up 6.2 per cent from a year ago while shipments to Japan were 41.4 million pounds, 11.2 per cent higher than last year.

Exports to Russia continued to register strong growth. Shipments to this market in August were 19.3 million pounds, some 13 million pounds or 200 per cent higher than a year ago and accounting for about 20 per cent of the growth in exports.

Shipments to other markets, such as Viet Nam and Hong Kong, were reported at 59.3 million pounds, 54 per cent higher than a year ago.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.