US beef exports soared to another new value record in August, topping the $1 billion mark for the first time, according to data released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.
Pork exports posted another strong month in August, remaining ahead of the record pace established in 2020.
“August export results would be impressive under any circumstances, but achieving these totals despite all the COVID-related obstacles at home and overseas is truly remarkable,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom, in a USMEF release. “Our transportation and labor situation is challenging, and customers continue to face an uncertain business climate because of foodservice restrictions and other economic headwinds.”
CHINA COMES THROUGH FOR BEEF
Led by record shipments to China and the largest exports of the year to Japan, August beef exports totaled 132,577 tonnes, up 22,825, or 20.8%, from 109,752 tonnes a year ago and the second largest of 2021, the USMEF said. Export value climbed $367.245 million, or 54.5%, to $1.041 billion from $673.755 million a year ago.
For January through August, beef exports increased 146,748 tonnes, or 18.1%, from a year ago to 955,407 tonnes from 808,659 tonnes, with value up $1.671 billion, or 33.8%, to $6.622 billion from $4.951 billion, the USMEF said. Exports also were about 6% higher in volume and 20% higher in value compared with the record pace established in 2018.
In addition to setting new records in China, beef exports are on a record pace to South Korea and Central America and have rebounded significantly to Mexico, the USMEF said.
PORK EXPORTS ALSO UP
Pork exports totaled 225,822 tonnes in August, up 7,929, or 3.64%, from 217,893 tonnes a year ago, and value increased $105.914 million, or 20.1%, to $633.868 million from $527.954 million as record shipments to Mexico and strong growth in several other markets helped offset the expected slowdown in muscle cut exports to China, the USMEF said.
For January through August, pork exports were 29,000 tonnes, or 1.45%, more than last year at 2.023 million tonnes from 1.994 million, while value climbed $491 million, or 9.58%, to $5.617 billion from $5.126 billion, the USMEF said.
Pork exports are on a record pace to Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, and chilled pork exports to Japan and South Korea are above last year, the USMEF said. While China’s demand for pork muscle cuts is trending lower, variety meat exports to China continued to expand.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
The USDA reported formula and contract base prices for live FOB steers and heifers this week ranged from $123.39 to $125.00 per cwt, compared with the previous week’s range of $123.68 to $125.06. FOB dressed steers and heifers went for $193.61 to $196.03 per cwt, versus $194.31 to $196.10.
The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $1.32 per cwt at $285.30, while select was up $1.53 at $264.44. The choice/select spread narrowed to $20.86 from $23.71 with 141 loads of fabricated product and 44 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.
The USDA reported Thursday that basis bids for corn from livestock feeding operations in the Southern Plains were down $0.05 at $1.15 to $1.30 a bushel over the Dec futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.40 over Dec, which settled at $5.37 3/4 a bushel, up $0.03 3/4.
No contracts were tendered for delivery Thursday against the Oct live cattle contract.
The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $153.80 per cwt up $0.92. This compares with Thursday’s Oct contract settlement of $160.35 per cwt, up $3.55.