US pork exports continued to post very strong results in August, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation, while beef exports were below the 2018’s record-large totals.
August pork exports increased 39,214 tonnes, or 21.5%, to 221,586 tonnes from 182,372 a year ago, while export value climbed $94.724 million, or 19.2%, to $588.8 million from $494.072 million, the USMEF said in a release. These results pushed January-August export volume 69,000, tonnes, or 4.22%, ahead of last year at 1.703 million tonnes from 1.634 million, while value increased $36.0 million, or 0.83%, to $4.35 billion from $4.319 billion.
August beef exports totaled 114,919 tonnes, a decline of 4,931, or 4.11%, from last year’s large volume of 119,850 tonnes, while export value of $690.252 million was down $61.415 million, or 8.17%, from $751.667 million, the USMEF said. January-August beef exports were slightly below last year’s record pace, declining 17,774 tonnes, or 1.98%, in volume to 881,526 tonnes from 899,300 and $69 million, or 1.25% in value to $5.44 billion from $5.508 billion.
PORK SALES TO CHINA, MEXICO GROW
Although still restrained by retaliatory duties, China/Hong Kong was the largest destination for US pork in August at 63,656 tonnes, more than tripling the August 2018 volume, while export value climbed 160% to $137.6 million, the USMEF said. For January through August, exports to China/Hong Kong were up 38% in volume to 356,322 tonnes and 17% in value to $717.9 million.
Since Mexico removed its 20% retaliatory duty on US pork in late May, exports have rebounded significantly but still trail 2017’s record-large numbers, the USMEF said. August exports to Mexico were down 1% year-over-year to 61,365 tonnes, but value increased 18% to $121.1 million.
A slow start to the year still weighs on January-August exports to Mexico, which were down 11% from a year ago in volume of 473,309 tonnes and value of $821.8 million.
PORK’S PER-HEAD VALUE RISES
Pork export value averaged $54.18 per head slaughtered in August, up 22% from a year ago, the USMEF said. For January through August, the per-head average was down 2% to $51.70.
August exports accounted for 27.1% of total US pork production and 23.7% for muscle cuts only, up from a year ago’s 21.9% and 19.2%, respectively, the USMEF said. January-August exports accounted for 26.4% of total pork production and 23% for muscle cuts, both up slightly year-over-year.
BEEF’S PER-HEAD VALUE DECLINES
Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $298.94 in August, down 7% from a year ago, while the January-August average was down 3% to $309.85, the USMEF said. August exports accounted for 14% of total US beef production and 11.3% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.3% and 12.2%, respectively.
January-Auguse exports accounted for 14.2% of total beef production and 11.6% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 12.1%, respectively, in 2018.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Cash cattle trade last week ranged from $106 per cwt on a live basis early up to $108 late in the week, up $1 to $3 from the previous week. Dressed-basis trade was at mostly $170, up $5.
The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was up $2.51 per cwt at $213.60, while select was up $1.15 at $187.06. The choice/select spread widened to $26.54 from $25.18 with 77 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
No cattle were posted Tuesday for delivery against the Oct contract.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday was $144.38 per cwt, down $0.05 from the previous day. This compares with Tuesday’s Oct contract settlement of $142.02, up $0.32.