Record High Pork and Beef Exports

US - While pork and beef cutout prices have fallen back from peak levels reached earlier this summer, both remain well above the price level of one year ago.
calendar icon 5 September 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Record-high pork exports and surging beef exports appear to be important factors supporting these cutout prices, says USMEF Manager of Research and Analysis Erin Daley.

“When you look at the cutout cut by cut, it reveals a strong trend,” Daley said. “Pork and beef cuts typically bound for overseas markets are showing excellent strength compared to cuts that primarily sell in our domestic market.”

Over the past week, the pork cutout has averaged about $80 – down from a mid-August record high of nearly $95, but still well above the $69 level posted at this time last year. This comes as especially welcome news to the U.S. pork industry, where many analysts had expected high production levels – about 9 percent above 2007 – to exert severely negative price pressure on the pork cutout.

Meanwhile, U.S. pork exports have been running at an all-time record pace in 2008. Through the first half of the year, pork plus pork variety meat exports have increased 67 percent in volume over last year (to 1.02 million metric tons, or nearly 2.25 billion pounds) and 58 percent in value (to nearly $2.32 billion) over the same period last year. Daley says an examination of specific cut prices shows the pork cutout is experiencing a significant price boost from this strong performance in the export markets.

“Loins, butts, picnics and hams are all up significantly over last year’s prices,” Daley said. “But prices for the mainly domestic items – including ribs and bellies –are actually lower than last year.”

Current One Year Ago Change
Rib $90.97 $107.53 down $16.56
Belly $77.43 $84.22 down $6.79
Loin $97.36 $83.77 up $13.59
Butt $85.45 $62.92 up $22.53
Picnic $63.12 $49.49 up $13.63
Ham $72.77 $59.90 up $12.87
Source: USDA, based on 200 lb pork carcass
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