May Pork, Beef Exports Hit 2019 Highs

May exports of US pork and beef were steady with last year’s strong volumes and increased year-over-year in value, putting the volume and value for both at 2019 highs, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.




May beef exports were nearly steady with last year in volume at 117,541 tonnes, down only 330 tonnes, or 0.28%, from 117,871 tonnes while export value increased $5.433 million, or 0.75% to $727.558 million from $722.125 million – the second-highest on record, trailing only the August 2018 total of $751.7 million, the USMEF said.

For January through May, beef exports were 17,069 tonnes, or 3.12%, below last year’s record pace in volume at 530,088 tonnes, versus 547,157 tonnes but only slightly lower in value at $3.304 billion, compared with $3.316 million, a dip of $12,000, or 0.36%, the USMEF said.

Beef export value per head of fed slaughter averaged $312.85 in May, down slightly from a year ago, the USMEF said.  For January through May, beef export value averaged $309.33 per head, down 3%.

May exports accounted for 14.6% of total US beef production and 12% for muscle cuts only, each down slightly from a year ago, the USMEF said.  For January through May, exports accounted for 14% of total production and 11.3% for muscle cuts, down from 14.6% and 11.9%, respectively, a year ago.




US pork exports totaled 217,999 tonnes in May, versus last year’s pace of 217,209 tonnes, a gain of 790 tonnes, or 0.36%, the USMEF said.  The value of these exports increased $5.280 million, or 0.94%, to $567.796 million from $562.516 million, the highest monthly value since April 2018.

For January through May, US pork exports of 1.035 million tonnes were 49,000 tonnes, or 4.52%, below last year’s volume of 1.084 million tonnes and down 276,000 tonnes, or 9.68%, in value to $2.574 billion from $2.850 billion, the USMEF said.

Pork export value averaged $54.83 per head slaughtered in May, the highest since May 2018 when it was $55.05 a head, the USMEF said.  For January through May, export value averaged $48.74 per head, down 12% from the 2018 period.

May exports accounted for 27.3% of total US pork production and 23.2% for muscle cuts only, down from 27.8% and 24%, respectively, a year ago, the USMEF said.  For January through May, exports accounted for 25.4% of total pork production, down from 27.5%, and 22.1% for muscle cuts, down from 23.7%.

May pork exports to Japan increased 5% from a year ago in volume to 36,373 tonnes and 3% in value to $148.6 million, the highest in 18 months.

Despite the 50% retaliatory duty on US pork to China, May also brought an uptick in exports to China/Hong Kong, rising 33% from last year in volume to 45,442 tonnes, while value increased 5% to $84 million.




Cash cattle trading was reported in the Plains last week at $109 to $113.50 per cwt on a live basis, steady to up $2 from the previous week’s action.  On a dressed basis, trading was reported at $180 to $181 per cwt, steady to up $1.

The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $0.21 per cwt at $217.46, while select was off $0.39 at $194.41.  The choice/select spread widened to $23.05 from $22.87 with 93 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $134.37 per cwt, up $1.16 from the previous day.  This compares with Monday’s Aug contract settlement of $138.90, up $0.07.