US beef exports remained well above last year’s pace in July, posting one of the highest monthly export value totals on record, according to the US Meat Export Federation, which compiled USDA data.
In contrast, July pork export volumes dipped below its year-ago counterpart for the first time in 15 months, with export value also down slightly.
BEEF EXPORTS SHINE
July beef exports totaled 104,488 tonnes, up 5,147, or 5.18%, from 99,341 tonnes in the year-earlier July. Export value reached $623.7 million, up $97.0 million, or 18.4%, from $526.7 million a year earlier and the highest since December 2014.
For January through July, beef exports increased 70,476 tonnes, or 11.0%, in volume to 711,364 tonnes from 640,888 and $526,637, or 15.3%, in value to $3.971 billion from $3.445 billion.
July beef exports accounted for 13.2% of total US beef production for the month and 10.7% for muscle cuts only, the USMEF said. These were the highest ratios of 2017, but were down from 14.2% and 11.0%, respectively, last July.
For January through July, beef exports accounted for 12.8% of total production and 10.90% of muscle cuts, roughly steady with last year.
Export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $299.21 in July, up more than $35, or 13%, from a year ago. Through July, per-head export value was up 9% to $273.52.
Beef exports to leading market Japan totaled 27,689 tonnes in July, up 4,647, or 20.2%, from 23,042 a year earlier and the largest since July 2013, which was shortly after Japan increased the eligible US cattle age to 30 months.
PORK EXPORTS DIM
Pork exports totaled 173,675 tonnes in July, down 6,872 tonnes, or 3.81%, from 180,547 a year ago. The value declined $2,949, or 0.60%, to $488,929 from $491,878 in the year-ago month.
However, January through July volume still was higher at 1.427 million tonnes, compared with 1.290 million a year earlier. This was an increase of 136,333 tonnes, or 10.6%.
January through July pork export value amounted to $3.699 billion, up $433,599, or 13.3%.
Exports accounted for about 26% of total pork production in July, down from 27.5% a year ago, and 21% for muscle cuts only, down from 23%.
For the first seven months of the year, with US production at a record pace, the percentage of total production exported increased from 25.6% to 27.5%. For muscle cuts only, the increase was from 21.6% to 23%. Export value per head slaughtered in July was $54.22, up slightly from June but 3% below last July. The January through July per-head average increased 10% from a year ago to $54.11.
Pork exports to Mexico remained on pace for a sixth straight annual volume record, with July volume up 7% from a year ago to 58,625 tonnes and value increasing 9% to $122.9 million. Through July exports rose 20% in volume and 26% in value.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Only one lot of cattle sold Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange video auction at $104.75 per cwt.
Grudging cash trading was reported last week at $105 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $1 from the previous week and at $163 dressed, down $2 to $3.
The USDA’s choice cutout Thursday was up $0.60 per cwt at $191.00, while select was off $1.97 at $186.72. The choice/select spread widened to $4.28 from $1.71 with 163 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $149.46 per cwt, up $0.44. This compares with Thursday’s Sep settlement of $148.80, up $0.20.