April Beef, Pork Export Volumes Decline

April US beef and pork export volumes were below those of a year ago and the previous five-year average, according to statistics released by USDA and compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.

Data from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and the Economic Research Service show that through the first four months of 2016, beef and pork exports were in line with last year’s volume, but fell 13.3% and 8.65% respectively, in value.




Beef exports totaled 88,190 tonnes in April, down 4,073, or 4.41% from 92,263 a year ago, while export value fell $74.320 million, or 13.4% to $481.0 million from $555.335 million.  Through the first four months of the year, beef exports were 343,176 tonnes, up only 1,249 tonnes, or 0.37%, valued at $1.84 billion, down $282.0 million, or 13.3%, from $2.121 billion.

A graph of US beef and veal exports for the year from the Livestock Marketing Information Center shows the comparison of exports through April showing how they lag the 2010-2014 average even though they are tracking the average’s trend.

April beef exports accounted for 13% of total production and 10% for muscle cuts only, each down about one percentage point from last year, the USMEF said.  For January through April, these ratios were down slightly from a year ago at 12.5% and 9.5%.

Beef export value averaged $252.42 per head of fed slaughter in April, down about 15% from a year ago but the highest of 2016.  January through April value averaged $245.56 per head, down 16%.




April pork exports totaled 188,324 tonnes, down 11,900, or 5.95% from the large 200,125 tonnes reported a year earlier.  Value fell $45.417 million, or 8.87% to $466.7 million from $512.103 million.

For January through April, exports totaled 722,645 tonnes valued at $1.77 billion.  This compares with 726,102 tonnes and $1.933 million a year earlier.

April pork exports accounted for 26% of total production and 22% for muscle cuts only, down from 27% and 24%, respectively, last year, the USMEF said.

For January through April, those ratios were roughly steady with last year at 24% and 20.5%.

Value averaged $49.83 a head slaughtered in April, down 6% from a year ago but the highest in 11 months.  January through April export value averaged $45.73 per head, down 9%.




USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng said, “While the European Union continues to be the dominant pork supplier to China, US pork is achieving growth in the China/Hong Kong market despite significant market access barriers.

“For US beef, improvement in Mexico and other Western Hemisphere markets was a very positive development,” Seng said.  “USMEF has worked closely with the retail and foodservice sectors to promote underutilized cuts and overcome our price challenges.”




Cash cattle markets Thursday remained quiet with bids at $125 per cwt on a live basis and asking prices at $130 to $132.  In dressed markets, asking prices were around $210.

Cattle last week traded on Friday $3 to $7 per cwt higher at $128 to $132.50 live.  Cattle also traded at $203 per cwt, dressed, down $1, early, up to $2 to $3 higher at $206 to $207 later.

The USDA’s choice cutout Thursday was $1.75 per cwt higher at $226.85 per cwt, while select was up $2.29 at $202.84.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $24.01 from $24.55 with 90 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $148.65 per cwt, up $0.32.  This compares with the Aug settlement Thursday of $147.30, down $0.07.