CME: International Pork Shipments VERY Good

US - According to CME's Daily Livestock Report for 14 May 2009, though late April and early May have been a challenge for US meat exports in general and US pork exports in particular, international beef shipments in March were good and pork shipments were VERY, VERY good considering they are following last year’s remarkable performance.
calendar icon 15 May 2009
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The graphs below show monthly exports to key destinations for both pork and beef. Note that these are in carcass weight equivalents (from USDA’s Economic Research Service) where some data you will see are in product weight (from the Department of Commerce and USDA’s Foreign Ag Service). The carcass weight data are directly comparable to beef and pork production totals. We realize these charts are a bit busy but we have found few other representations that show country detail and context quite as well as these. Please pardon our making you squint.

Some highlights of March and year-to-date export data are:

  • March ‘09 pork exports were actually 2.2 per cent LARGER than in March 2008. The biggest gainer in percentage terms was Taiwan at +120 per cent of a very small number last year. March shipments to Mexico, at 67.6 million pounds were 65 per cent larger than one year ago — a fact that makes the difficulties of recent weeks even more painful since Mexico’s share of US exports through March was nearly 21 per cent this year versus 12 per cent last. Shipments to Canada were 12 per cent higher than last March while shipments to South Korea were 22 per cent higher.

  • Year-to-date pork exports thru March amounted to 1.033 billion pounds carcass weight, only 6.6 per cent less than last year’s March YTD figure of 1.106 billion pounds. That number compares to –10.8 per cent at the end of February. Shipments to Japan and Mexico were up 9.7 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively, YTD at the end of March but all other major markets were lower — Canada by 2.6 per cent, Russia by 45 per cent, Korea by 9 per cent and, perhaps most important, China/Hong Kong by 63 per cent. Note, however, that shipments to both Russia and China/Hong Kong have improved since the beginning of the year when business with Russia was especially dismal.

  • The value of pork exports, at $922.4 million, is still ahead of its 2008 pace by 3.7 per cent as of the end of March. The two most important contributors to this growth in terms of both dollars and percentage change are Japan and Mexico.

  • Pork variety meat exports were up 61 per cent in volume and 59 per cent in value through March.

  • March beef exports of 132.4 million pounds carcass weight were 5.2 per cent larger than one year ago. That increase leaves YTD beef exports thru March at 383.7 million pounds, 6.6 per cent larger than last year. South Korea (+3827 per cent from last March’s shipments of only 238,000 pounds), Japan (+42 per cent) and Other markets (+42 per cent — and these, if they were one country, would constitute our SECOND LARGEST beef market) led the year-on-year growth. March shipments to Canada and Mexico were 15.8 and 22.7 per cent lower, respectively. The value of beef exports at $548.6 million, YTD thru March, was 8.3 per cent higher than in 2008.
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