CME: Slightly Positive Month for Pork Exports

US - June product weight export data indicates continuing but smaller struggles for beef and a second straight positive - barely so - month for pork, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 7 August 2015
clock icon 4 minute read

Some highlights of this month’s numbers, released by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, are:

  • Beef exports trailed their year-ago level again in June but the decline was significantly smaller in percentage terms than in May. Shipments of 71,184 MT were 8.7 per cent smaller than last year. The value of those shipments was down 8.4 per cent from June 2014.
  • June’s exports helped the YTD figures gain on 2014 a bit in terms of tonnage but actually were a drag on the year-on-year change in value. Just under 10 per cent less beef has been exported this year through June and the value of that product is down 1.7 per cent.
  • For the second straight month Canada was the top-ranked value market for US beef at $108.2 million. (Note that the entire table is ranked by June 2015 export VALUE, not tonnage). Canada was second to Japan in terms of June export tonnage, taking 12,433 MT. Year-to-date, Canada is our second largest beef market in terms of value and third largest in terms of tonnage.
  • Japan remains our largest market on several counts - June export volume (17,041 MT) and YTD volume and value.
  • Shipments to Mexico continue to struggle. Mexico was our largest beef market in the years immediately following the discovery of BSE in the US in late 2003 but has steadily slipped in terms of tonnage and in the rankings as shipments to some markets (primarily Japan, Canada and Korea) recovered from the BSE shock and shipments to “Other” markets grew steadily. Mexico ranks fifth in terms of value and fourth in terms of volume for 2015 year-to-date.
  • South Korea and Taiwan remain the major growth markets with June shipments to both countries up sharply. These are the only two markets of those that have taken 10,000 MT or more of US to show growth in 2015. Those six 10,000 MT and larger markets account for 87 per cent of 2015 tonnage and 84 per cent of 2015 value.
  • June pork exports grew slightly from May levels and came in 1 per cent larger than one year ago. We believe that the June numbers were not impacted to any great degree by the final clean-ups of the port labour slowdown backlog. June’s growth brings the YTD total to 853,842 MT, 3.9 per cent lower than last year.
  • The challenge for pork exports, though, is value which was down 22 per cent from one year ago, reflecting sharply lower US domestic prices. But we need to remember that those lower domestic prices do not mean the price of US product is lower in the importing country given the strengthening of the US dollar. In fact, that 22 per cent US dollar value decline for exports is very much in line with the roughly 18 per cent increase in dollar index futures since June 2014.
  • As has been the case for some time, Japan is still on top value market for pork and ranks second for tonnage. Mexico is tops for volume and second for value.
  • Korea continues to be the star performer relative to one year ago. May shipments to Korea were up 72 per cent in volume and 24 per cent in value. Those figures year-to-date are +45 per cent and +38 per cent.

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