Beef Exports Up Despite Firm US Dollar Index

Weekly US beef exports jumped sharply in the week ended Sep. 10 to 17,400 tonnes, even though the US Dollar Index remained strong.  In fact, the US may be on track to record an annual increase in beef exports.

The latest weekly beef export number was up 9,300 tonnes, or 114.8%, from 8,100 in the preceding week, but was up only 3,600 tonnes, or 26.1%, from the last week in August.

For July, US beef and beef variety meats totaled 99,341 tonnes, up 7,386 tonnes, or 8.03%, from 91,955 tonnes a year earlier, according to USDA data compiled by the US Meat Export Federation.  For the year through July, US beef exports were up 21,824 tonnes, or 3.53%, to 640,888 tonnes from 619,064 tonnes.

The US Dollar Index is a comparison of the relative value of the US currency to a basket of other major world currencies, providing a good comparison of the dollar to the world.  US beef exports rose, but the reasons for such an increase aren’t provided by a simple look at the currency exchange rates.


All things being equal, a stronger dollar should suppress exports, yet USDA Foreign Agriculture Service data clearly shows a spike in weekly beef exports.

Further study of the weekly export numbers shows that exports were up to all four major US beef markets of Canada, Japan, Mexico and South Korea, implying some sort of economic connection.




LMIC Director Jim Robb said in an interview with Radio Oklahoma Farm Director Ron Hays that the world economic environment is beginning to improve.  The US is one of only a handful of countries well positioned to export beef.

“We’re clearly on track, especially in the beef sector, to have a year-over-year increase that’s pretty significant in the tonnage of beef we’re going to export in 2016 compared to 2015 levels,” Robb said.

He said exchange rates were changing slowly and that growing incomes in key countries are helping the US beef export picture.




Growing incomes in consuming countries may be an important component in the climb in US beef exports.  If it is, similar growth in US pork exports could be expected, and this is just what is seen in USDA data from the USMEF.

July US pork and pork variety meat exports amounted to 180,547 tonnes, up 13,943 tonnes, or 8.37%, from 166,604 tonnes the year before.  For the year to date, US pork exports totaled 1.290 million tonnes, up 38,199 tonnes, or 3.05%, from 1.252 million in the 2015 period.




Cash cattle markets Wednesday were quiet with scattered bids of $108 per cwt on a live basis and asking prices mostly up $2 at $112.  In dressed markets, only one regional packer was reported bidding at $168 against asking prices of $175 to $177.  Estimated feedlot showlists are lower, which could increase seller footing in price negotiations.

The USDA’s choice cutout Wednesday was $1.67 per cwt higher at $187.17, while select was off $0.17 at $179.78.  The choice/select spread widened to $7.39 from $5.55 with 129 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Tuesday was $134.58 per cwt, up $0.03.  This compares with the Sep settlement Wednesday of $136.35, up $1.02.