The Cattle Range Home Page
September 8, 2017
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U.S. Beef Import/Export Data

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U.S. Beef Import/Export Data
CME Group

Yesterday, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) compiled and posted the monthly U.S. trade data for meat and livestock. The latest compilation is for July.  Today’s focus on beef tonnage exported and imported overlooks the dollar values involved, that is important, for example, because the dollar values of beef that U.S. imports is typically much less than that of exports.

In July, compared to June’s, U.S. beef export tonnage was essentially unchanged. Still, the trend of year-over-year increases since July 2016 was maintained (up 10%). A total of 83 different countries bought enough U.S. beef to be recorded by ERS in July. Among the major destinations, more tonnage was shipped than a year earlier to Japan (up 22%), Hong Kong (33%), Vietnam (59%), and Canada (5%).

A bit of a surprise in the data was the tonnage of beef imported by the U.S. in July, which increased month-over-month by 2% and was 11% above 2016’s. Of the major import sources, the only drops compared to a year ago were for products from Australia and Brazil.

The graphics above is for beef net trade tonnage. That is net beef imports beef (tonnage of imports minus exports). Again, as stated earlier, this is tonnage and not value (the value of exported beef per unit is well bigger than that of imported product). In June, the tonnage of beef imported by the U.S. exceeded exports. Note that typically the U.S. flips from being a net importer to a net exporter of beef during the second half of the calendar year. 

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