August exports of US beef and pork muscle cuts were above last year’s strong volumes, according to data released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.
Variety meat exports were lower than a year ago, partly because of a lack of available labor required to harvest and export some items, the USMEF said in a release.
SOUTH KOREA, TAIWAN NOTED BEEF IMPORTERS
Led by record-large demand in South Korea and Taiwan, beef muscle cut exports were the largest in more than a year at 89,148 tonnes, up 3.5% from last year, while export value increased slightly from a year ago to $611 million, the USMEF said.
Combined beef/beef variety meat exports were 109,752 tonnes in August, down 5,167, or 4.50%, from 114,919 tonnes a year ago, the USMEF said. Export value was $673.755 million, down $16.497 million, or 2.39%, from $690.252 million a year ago but the highest since March.
For January through August, beef muscle cut exports, at 627,248 tonnes, were 38,915 tonnes, or 5.84%, less than last year’s pace of 666,163 tonnes in volume and $423 million, or 8.80%, below in value at $4.379 billion, compared with $4.802 billion, the report said.
Eight-month beef plus beef variety meat exports of 808,659 tonnes were down 72,867 tonnes, or 8.27%, from 881,526 tonnes, valued at $4.951 billion, down $488 million, or 8.97%, from $5.439 billion last year.
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $302.82 in August, up 1% from a year ago, the USMEF said. The January-August average was down 4% to $297.96.
August exports accounted for 13.7% of total beef production and 11.9% for muscle cuts, compared with 14% and 11.3%, respectively, last year. The January-August ratios were 13.3% and 11.1%, down from 14.2% and 11.6% a year ago.
PORK MUSCLE CUT EXPORTS UP
August exports of US pork muscle cuts were 180,369 tonnes, up 1,648 tonnes, or 0.92%, from 178,721 a year ago, though value of $448.770 million was down $54.591 billion, or 10.8%, from $503.261 million, the USMEF said.
Combined pork and pork variety meat exports of 217,893 tonnes were down 3,693 tonnes, or 1.67%, from 221,586 tonnes and at $527.054 million were $61.742 million, or 10.5%, lower than last year’s $588.796 million.
Pork exports remain on a record pace in 2020, with January-August muscle cuts up 22% from a year ago to 1.68 million tonnes, valued at $4.45 billion (up 20%), the release said. Pork/pork variety meat exports were up 17% in volume to 1.993 million tonnes, with value up 18% to $5.126 billion.
Pork export value per head slaughtered averaged $47.47 in August, down 12% from 2019, but the January-August average still was up 15% to $59.59, the USMEF said. August exports accounted for 25.9% of total pork production and 23.1% for muscle cuts, down from 27.2% and 23.7%, respectively, last year.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Fed cattle trading this week was seen at $108.50 per cwt on a live basis, up $1.50 from last week. Dressed-basis trading was reported last week at $167 to $168 per cwt, up $3 to $4.
The USDA choice cutout Wednesday was up $0.64 per cwt at $216.88, while select was off $1.26 at $205.58. The choice/select spread widened to $11.30 from $9.36 with 130 loads of fabricated product and 29 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.
There were no delivery notices against the Oct live cattle futures market Wednesday.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $142.71 per cwt, down $0.39. This compares with Wednesday’s Oct contract settlement of $138.50 per cwt, up $0.37.