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CME: Highlights on US Pork and Beef Shipments

by 5m Editor
14 June 2010, at 5:46am

US - The US Census Bureau released on Thursday, 10 June, its monthly report on US agricultural exports for the month of April, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

Below are some of the highlights on US pork and beef shipments for the month. Keep in mind that the volume is on a MT basis and the year over year comparisons may be a bit different when ERS converts it to carcass weight equivalent:

US pork exports in April were estimated to be 119,717 MT, 4.9 per cent lower than the previous month and only 1.7 per cent higher than the previous year. And while pork exports continue to grow, most of the year over year increase is due to higher exports of pork that has been prepared or preserved prior to shipment. Exports of fresh/frozen pork were 1.3 per cent lower than the previous month and 4.9 per cent lower than a year ago. On the other hand, exports of prepared/preserved pork were up 114 per cent compared to year ago levels.

As for the distribution and growth of pork exports, the treemap chart below shows both the size of the US pork export markets and the rate of growth. Japan remains the top market for US pork. Total pork exports to Japan in April were reported to be 40,024 MT, 18 per cent higher than the previous month and 6 per cent higher than last April.

Looking back at the data, it appears that this was the largest monthly export volume to Japan ever. Exports to Mexico cooled off a bit from the previous month but remain well above year ago levels. Total pork exports to Mexico in April were 28,154 MT, 13 per cent lower than the previous month but 27 per cent higher than a year ago. Pork exports to Canada were 11,823 MT, 21 per cent lower than in March but 19 per cent higher than a year ago. But while exports to the top markets continue to post year over year growth and some smaller markets also continue to grow (see chart), we also have signficiant declined in a number of markets that drove growth the last couple of years. Pork exports to China in April were just 671 MT, which also repsensets the entire amount exported to this market in the first four months of this year (there were zero shipments in Q1). Last April, US pork exports to China were 6,708 MT and two years ago they were 16,042 MT. Exports to Russia also remain disappointing. Total pork shipments for the month were 2,023 MT, 74 per cent less than the previous year.

US beef and veal exports in April were 58,981 MT, 8 per cent higher than the previous month and 30 per cent higher than a year ago. Mexico remains the top market for US beef exports and shipments in April were 12,227 MT, up 2 per cent from March but 9 per cent lower than a year ago. Exports to S. Korea were extremely strong, growing by 287 per cent compared to a year ago.