US beef exports set a new value record in May, even though year-over-year volume also rose, said the US Meat Export Federation after analysts there compiled USDA data released Monday.
Exports of US beef and beef variety meats in May totaled 117,871 tonnes, the sixth largest on record. It was up 6,658, or 5.99%, from 111,213 tonnes in April and up 12,550, or 11.9%, from 105,321 tonnes in May 2017, according to the USDA data compiled by the USMEF.
The previous monthly high was in March when it was 111,994 tonnes, valued at $693.113 million, so May’s exports surpassed the previous high by 5,877 tonnes, or 5.25%.
Market analysts said the increase in May’s beef exports was the result of more product being available because of a higher volume of beef production this year and because of rising foreign demand for US beef.
As testament to assertions of higher demand for US beef, market analysts point to the value of the product shipped. The value of May’s beef and beef variety meats came to $722.125 million, up $139.563 million, or 24.0%, from $582.562 million a year ago. Buyers bought more even though the cost of their purchases went up.
For the first five months of the year, US beef exports were up 10% in volume to 547,157 tonnes, while export value was $3.32 billion, $571 million, or 20.8% above last year’s record pace of $2.75 billion.
Monthly US beef export shipments have been higher than last year and the previous five-year average all year. And since the seasonal trend is for higher month-to-month exports through July or August, it would seem reasonable to expect monthly beef exports to remain above last year and the average for a couple more months, an analyst said.
Exports accounted for 13.6% of total beef production in May, up from 13% a year ago, the USMEF said. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.1%, up from 10% last year.
For January through May, US beef exports accounted for 13.5% of total beef production and 10.9% for muscle cuts, up from 12.8% and 10%, respectively, last year, the USMEF said.
Beef export value averaged $313.39 per head of fed slaughter in May, up 18% from a year ago, the USMEF said. The January-through-May average was $317.69 a head, also up 18%.
Beef export volumes to Japan, South Korea and Canada were up from a year ago, while values were up strongly on product shipped to Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, the data showed.
Exports to Japan in May totaled 30,117 tonnes, up from 25,340 a year earlier.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
No Livestock Exchange Video Auction took place Wednesday. Fed cattle sold the previous Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange Video Auction at $106 per cwt, down $4 from the prior Wednesday.
Cash trade was reported Friday at $112 to $114 per cwt on a live basis, up about $6 from the previous week. Dressed-basis sales in the Plains were mostly $173 to $175 per cwt, up about $5.
The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $1.11 per cwt at $206.92, while select was off $0.09 at $198.62. The choice/select spread narrowed to $8.30 from $9.32 with 97 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday, was $146.48 per cwt, up $1.33. This compares with Monday’s Aug settlement of $151.45, down $0.75.