CME: Beef Exports Up, Pork Exports Down in October

US - October export data indicate continued growth for beef and beef product shipments and continued year-on-year monthly declines for pork shipments but higher export values across the board, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 15 December 2010
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"We believe that latter factor is far more important when it comes to demand contribution by exports and is one of the primary reasons we have seen such strong wholesale level demand for both beef and pork this fall," write the authors.

The charts show historical data for monthly values of beef, pork and various by-product exports from January 2001 through October.

A few important features of these charts are:

  • The Great Recession was tough on beef exports. High-flying 2008 beef exports came to a screeching halt along with the world economy and did not begin to recover until early this year. And that was not only true of beef muscle cuts. The value of beef hide exports fell sharply in late 2008 as the demand for cars and furniture slowed and decreased the demand for leather. The recession's impact can be seen for variety meats as well but it is not as dramatic there since these tend to be low-priced items.

  • While the quantity of beef exports has yet to get back to pre- BSE levels, the value of beef exports is now solid near those peaks. Export values have exceeded the peak value of June 2003 in four months thus far in 2010 . The August 2008 record of $343 million still stands but we believe it is very likely to fall, either yet this year or as beef prices grow in 2011.

  • Non-meat items are not nearly as important to the pork sector. The total value of variety meats, sausage casings and pig skins barely comes to one-sixth the value of monthly pork exports.

  • The Great Recession is not as evident in pork export values. In fact, pork export values appear to have been driven more by the 'pre-recession bubble' than to have been harmed by the recession itself. That 2008 bubble, of course, was driven primarily by purchases by China-Hong Kong. Remove it and monthly pork export values fall on a more or less steady upward trend.

  • Obviously, pig skins are not nearly as important as cattle hides, barely registering at the bottom of the scale. We included sausage casings in the chart just to demonstrated the differences that exist between the species.

As for October export performance, beef exports were 19 per cent higher than last year on a product weight basis and the value of those shipments was 37 per cent higher. Year-to-date, beef shipments and value are up 17 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively. October cattle hide exports were up 16 per cent in volume and 54 per cent in value from last year. Year-to-date figures for hides are +4.7 per cent in volume and +70.2 per cent in value.

October pork exports were 9.9 per cent lower than last year but the value of those shipments was 9.3 per cent higher. Pork exports are still 1.6 per cent larger than in 2009, year-to-date through October. Year-to-date export value is up 12.8 per cent. October pork variety meat exports were 33 per cent and 24 per cent larger in volume and value, respectively, than one year ago. Year-to-date, those figures are +2.7 per cent and +0.6 per cent.

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