US monthly beef and veal exports declined seasonally in September but remained above last year and the 2012-2016 average, while pork exports continued to be affected by retaliatory duties in China and Mexico.
Data from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation showed that pork muscle-cut exports were up from last September, but were offset by sharply lower shipments of variety meats.
September beef exports totaled 110,160 tonnes, up 6,608, or 6.38%, from 103,552 a year ago, the USMEF said. They were valued at $687.1 million, up $70.181 million, or 11.4%, from $616.905 million a year ago.
For January through September, beef exports totaled 1.009 million tonnes, up 82,475, or 8.90%, from 926,985 tonnes a year ago, The USMEF said. Year-to-date value surged $927.968 million, or 17.6%, to $6.195 billion from $5.267 billion.
For beef muscle cuts only, the year-to-date increases over last year were even more impressive, the USMEF said, jumping 88,997 tonnes, or 12.9%, in volume to 777,740 tonnes from 688,743 and $928.938 million, or 20.1%, in value to $5.544 billion from $4.615 billion.
SEPTEMBER BEEF EXPORTS REACH 13.7% OF PRODUCTION
Exports accounted for 13.7% of total beef production in September and 11.4% for muscle cuts only, the USMEF said, up from 12.5% and 10.4%, respectively, a year ago.
For the first three quarters of 2018, beef exports accounted for 13.5% of total production, up from 12.8% in the 2017 period and 11.1% for muscle cuts, up one percentage point from last year.
Beef export value equated to $334.63 per head of fed slaughter in September and $320.85 for January through September, each up about 16% from a year ago, the USMEF said.
SOUTH KOREA THE STAR
South Korea has been the growth pacesetter for US beef exports in 2018, and September was no exception, the USMEF said. Exports to South Korea were up 22% from a year ago in volume at 19,116 tonnes from 15,642 from the 2017 month and were 29% higher in value at $143.1 million from $110.6 million.
January-September exports to South Korea reached 180,495 tonnes, up 37% from 131,774 a year ago, while export value soared 51% to $1.29 billion from $856.9 million, already breaking last year’s full-year value record, the USMEF said.
The results included a 28% increase in chilled beef to 40,372 tonnes, valued at $391 million, up 38%, the USMEF said. The US’ share of South Korea’s total beef imports has increased sharply this year, from 44.7% to 48.7%, as US beef underpins the country’s growing beef consumption.
September beef exports to Japan were up 4% from a year ago in volume (28,086 tonnes) and value ($172.3 million), the USMEF said. For January-September, exports to Japan were up 7% from a year ago in volume (252,871 tonnes) while value increased 10% to $1.59 billion.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Cash cattle trade last week waited until late Friday, and many sellers passed. Trade ranged from $114 to $116 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $1 from the bulk of trade the previous week. Dressed-basis trade was reported at $180 to $197, up $6 to $17.
The USDA choice cutout Tuesday was up $0.17 per cwt at $218.76, while select was up $2.31 at $204.66. The choice/select spread narrowed to $14.10 from $16.24 with 87 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Monday, was $153.32 per cwt, down $0.23. This compares with Tuesday’s Nov settlement of $149.97, up $0.47.