Pork Exports Soar As Beef Lags

US pork exports posted the largest month on record in November, easily reaching new highs in volume and value, while the month’s beef exports were below November 2018 totals, according to data released by the USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.




Pork exports surged to 259,812 tonnes in November, up 52,960, or 25.6%, from 206,852 a year earlier and 11% above the previous high set in July 2019 of about 231,233 tonnes, the USMEF said.  Export value was $712.735 million, up $173.994 million, or 32.3%, from $538.741 million a year ago and breaking the previous record, also from July 2019, of about $612.952 million by 14%.

Those results pushed January-November exports to 2.390 million tonnes, 162,532, or 7.30%, above the previous year’s pace of 2.390 million and $327.0 million, or 5.58%, more in value to $6.192 billion from $5.865 billion, the USMEF said.  Pork exports now are on pace to exceed previous annual records for volume of 2.45 million tonnes in 2017 and value of $6.65 billion in 2014.

Pork export value per head slaughtered was $62.90 in November, up 29% from a year ago and the highest in five years, the USMEF said.  Through the first 11 months of 2019, per-head value averaged $52.24, up 2% year-over-year.

November exports accounted for 29.7% of total pork production and 26.8% for muscle cuts only, up substantially from a year ago, 24.5% and 22%, respectively, the USMEF said.  For January through November, exports accounted for 26.4% of total pork production and 23% for muscle cuts, up from 22.4% and 25.7%, respectively, a year ago.

Demand from China/Hong Kong continued to drive US pork export growth in November, with volume climbing to 86,213 tonnes – up 284% from a year ago – valued at $204.9 million (up 240%), the USMEF said.  For January through November, exports to the region were up 71% to 554,789 tonnes, valued at $1.18 billion (up 49%).




November beef exports totaled 108,662 tonnes, down 4,180, or 3.70%, from 112,842 a year ago and were valued at $658.116 million, down $51.103 million, or 7.20%, from $709.842 million a year ago, the USMEF said.

For January through November, beef exports of 1.208 billion tonnes, valued at $7.408 billion, trailed 2018’s record pace of 1.244 million tonnes and $7.632 billion by about 3% in each category.

However, 2019 was already the second-highest year for beef export value, trailing only the 2018 record of $8.33 billion.

Beef export value per head of fed-cattle slaughter was $307.55 in November, down 15% from a year ago, the USMEF said.  Through November, per-head export value averaged $308.74, down 4%.

November exports accounted for 13.7% of total beef production and 11% for muscle cuts only, down from 14.1% and 11.8%, respectively, a year ago, the USMEF said.  For January through November, exports accounted for 14.1% of total beef production and 11.4% for muscle cuts, down from 14.5% and 12%, respectively.




Cash cattle trading took place last week at $124 to $125 per cwt on a live basis, up $2 to $3 from the previous week.  Dressed-basis trade happened at $198 to $200 per cwt, up $3 to $4.

The USDA choice cutout Wednesday was down $0.06 per cwt at $209.50, while select was off $0.29 at $206.53.  The choice/select spread widened to $2.97 from $2.74 with 131 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $145.91 per cwt, down $0.07 from the previous day.  This compares with Wednesday’s Jan contract settlement of $146.82, up $0.92.