World meat industry news

All news / CME: US Beef Exports Down in February

  • 11 Apr 2016, 10:56

Earlier this week, Dr Derrell Peel at Oklahoma State University published a very timely short article regarding Mexican beef exports to the US, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

The Mexican beef industry has changed dramatically in the past 10-15 years, especially the implementation of boxed beef technology and feedlot associated modern packing plants.

In late March, SuKarne announced a huge new beef packing plant and feedlot complex was opening in the Mexican state of Durango.

This is the newest modern large scale beef processing plant built from the ground-up in North America. This new complex will likely facilitate continued growth in sales of Mexican beef to the US and other countries.

On 6 April, the USDA’s Economic Research Service posted the monthly US international trade data that they assemble. The most recent data are for February. Here we will just hit some highlights focusing on year-over-year comparisons.

Starting with US export tonnage in the red meat sectors, for the month of February, US beef tonnage slipped 3 per cent year-over-year. Pork export tonnage posted an increase of 3 per cent; that marked 11 consecutive months of equal to or above year earlier export levels, which is a strong trend.

In February, beef import tonnage declined compared to a year ago (down 9 per cent) and product from Australia, the largest supplier, dropped 23 per cent.

Tonnage imported from Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand rose year-over-year for the month.

US pork imports remain above a year earlier (up 13 per cent in February).

Russian trade barriers against European, Canadian, and US pork remain a significant influence on world trade patterns and one outcome is international pork prices that translate into increased US imports.

Still, by a wide margin US pork export tonnage exceeds imported product.

Turning to poultry, in February, broiler tonnage shipped was up 8 per cent year-over-year and the largest for any month since June 2015.

After June of last year, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) induced restrictions by key importers of US products combined with lacklustre economic conditions worldwide dramatically dampened exports.

Turkey exports have continued to struggle year-over-year (dropping 17 per cent in February) due to HPAI restrictions and very high wholesale prices in the US.

In terms of US live animal imports during February, the recent trends continued. The major animal imports are: feeder cattle from Mexico; cattle of various types and ages from Canada; and slaughter hogs and feeder pigs from Canada.

Cattle imports from both countries declined compared to 2015’s, continuing the recent trend. In February, cattle imports from Mexico and Canada were below a year ago by 18 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively.

Hog and pig imports from Canada continued to post gains; head imported in February were 15 per cent above a year earlier. Current forecasts put US beef export tonnage in 2016 slightly above 2015’s.

US pork exports for this calendar year are expected to be above 2015’s but still below peak annual level, set in 2012.

Additional year-over-year gains in beef and pork export tonnage are forecast for 2017. After a disappointing 2015 for poultry exports, both 2016 and 2017 are forecast to improve as long as further widespread US cases of HPAI do not reoccur.