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CME: Chicken Exports Lose Their Sizzle

by 5m Editor
13 July 2009, at 12:27pm

US - CME's Daily Livestock Report for 10 July reports that there were a number of USDA reports released on Friday and it will take more than a couple of paragraphs to digest all the information available.

Given all the speculation about the state of US meat exports following the flu outbreak, we will focus on the May export data and then cover some of the highlights of the grain and meat supply and demand data on Monday.

US meat exports contracted sharply in May, partly due to the outbreak of H1N1 flu virus but also due to lingering effects of the global recession and a relatively stronger US currency compared to year ago levels. Also, last year’s export volume was quite high, which tends to skew the year over year comparisons. The data below is quoted on a shipped weight basis and the comparisons will vary slightly from the carcass weight export data that will be released on Monday by ERS.

The data showed that total US pork exports in May were 104,905 MT, 34.02 per cent lower than a year ago. Shipments to all major markets declined compared to a year ago but declines to some were truly staggering. Pork exports to China and Hong Kong were down 40 per cent from the previous month and were 82.8 per cent lower than the previous year. Exports to these markets were expected to contract following the Olympics induced bubble of a year ago but the most recent decline was clearly driven by the flu outbreak and resulting bans. Total US pork exports to Mexico in May were 16 per cent lower than the previous month and now 5.7 per cent lower than a year ago. Also, shipments to Japan, the top market for US pork, were down 13.5 per cent from the previous month and 15.7 per cent lower than a year ago.

As for US beef exports, they also declined compared to a year ago despite the fact that, different from a year ago, US beef packers now have access to the Korean market. Total US beef and veal exports in May were 53,000 MT, 4.8 per cent lower than a year ago. Exports to Mexico, the top US beef market, were 14,927 MT, 20.7 per cent lower than a year ago. Shipments to Korea have cooled off significantly compared to a year ago and in May were just 2,500 MT, compared to almost 7,000 MT back in January. Part of the reason for the decline may be seasonal but also a stronger US dollar has negatively impacted trade.

As for chicken exports, they too have lost some of their sizzle. Total US exports of fresh/frozen chicken in May were 257,296 MT, 10.3 per cent lower than a year ago.