US Beef Exports Up Despite Stronger Dollar

US beef exports rose significantly in May, counter to what might be expected given the strengthening US Dollar Index.

The Dollar Index is a comparison of the greenback against a basket of other currencies.  The Index was rising in May, signifying a strengthening US currency when compared with other currencies.  The action made US products more expensive, which often works to diminish US exports.

The Sep Index went from a low on May 3 of 92.000 with a close the same day of 93.029 to a high on May 30 of 95.980 and a close on May 31 of 95.893.  From settlement to settlement, the Index rose 3.08% during the month as worries about a possible UK exit from the EU grew.

What’s more, US beef and veal imports were nearly flat in May, a contradiction of what might be expected with a strengthening dollar.  Beef and veal imports also were nearly unchanged in April.

USDA-Economic Research Service and Foreign Agricultural Service data show May beef and veal imports at 275.328 million pounds, compared with 272.503 million in April and 273.834 million in March.




US beef exports usually grow in May with the 2010-2014 average moving to 218.725 million pounds from 199.043 million in April for a gain of 19.682 million, or 9.89%.

However, April-through-May exports this year rose 29.976 million pounds, or 15.9%, going to 219.055 million from 189.079 million.

Reasons for the increase in light of a stronger US dollar are unclear.  It appears that seasonal demand won’t be denied, and if the average trend and last year’s export numbers are any indication, beef exports in June will rise also.

Beyond that, the picture becomes murkier.  The 2010-2014 average line rises in June as did exports last year.  However, exports last year dropped away in July, a month before the previous five-year average.

The US Dollar Index shows the US currency’s value declined again in June, so beef and veal exports could have continued rising steeply.  But with the Brexit vote going for separation from the EU, more uncertainty was injected into world markets, and the ambiguity could mute world trade of all products including US beef and veal.




US pork exports for May show a similar trend – rising more sharply than normal in May – but there is a twist.  Pork imports also rose in May, which would be expected with a rise in the US dollar’s buying power.

ERS and FAS data show pork exports for the month at 458.828 million pounds, up 28.914 million, or 6.73%. from 429.914 million in April.  The 2010-2014 average gain is 3.93 million, or 0.96%, going to 415.333 million from 411.403 million.




Cash cattle markets Monday were untraded with no bids or offers reported.  Feedlot showlists were thought to be larger in every major growing area, so price pressure was expected.

Cash markets last week were about $2 per cwt lower on a live basis at mostly $120 with some at $120.50 in Nebraska.  On a dressed basis, prices were about $3 to $4 lower at $191 to $192.

The USDA’s choice cutout Monday was $0.65 per cwt lower at $208.70, while select also was off $0.88 at $195.40.  The choice/select spread widened to $13.30 from $13.07 with 89 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Friday was $146.42 per cwt, up $3.50.  This compares with the Aug settlement Monday of $139.45, down $4.00.