2008 a record-breaker for U.S. poultry, egg exports

by Bryan Salvage
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STONE MOUNTAIN, GA. -- Total U.S. poultry meat, table eggs and processed egg products exports for 2008 set an all-time record, valued at $4.7 billion -- 25% above 2007. This marks the second-consecutive year of record exports for the U.S. In 2007, poultry and egg exports increased by 41% over 2006, according to the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.

Exports of all poultry and egg products in 2008 passed the $5 billion milestone for the first time. Reaching $5.05 billion, this total is up 24% over the previous year and includes non-food items, such as live breeding stock, hatching eggs and feathers and down, according to trade data compiled by the U.S.D.A.’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Broiler-meat exports for 2008 set a new record in both quantity and value. Export quantity reached 3.2 million metric tons, up 18% over 2007, while export value reached $3.5 billion, $777 million or 28% ahead of the previous year, said Dr. Renan Zhuang, director of economic analysis at the U.S.A.P.E.E.C.

U.S. turkey-meat exports also established records in both volume and value in 2008. Total turkey meat exports last year reached 306,787 tons, up 24% from 2007, in large part because of increased import demand by Mexico and China. Export value in 2008 soared to $481.9 million, an increase of 21% from previous year, said Mr. Zhuang, who analyzes U.S. industry data for U.S.A.P.E.E.C.

U.S. broiler exports have become increasingly less concentrated, Mr. Zhuang said. Volume to the top three markets last year – Russia, China and Mexico – totaled 1,464,625 tons. The combined share of broiler exports to the Big Three was 46% in 2008, compared to 52% a year earlier. While export volume to Russia for the year decreased by 4%, volume to China and Mexico increased by 12% and 27%, respectively.

Monthly U.S. broiler-meat shipments to all destinations in 2008 increased year-on-year over 2007 in every month but November, Mr. Zhuang said. Total broiler meat exports for the first half of 2008 were 1.5 million tons, up 20% year on year. Exports for the second half of 2008 were 1.7 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 16% and an increase of 11% from the first half of 2008.

Broiler-meat export prices in the second half of 2008 increased about 6% from the first half of 2008, even as the world economy entered into a severe economic downturn, Mr. Zhuang pointed out.

Exports of turkey meat to Mexico, the top market for U.S. turkey, reached 162,545 tons, an increase of 19% from the previous year. Meanwhile, U.S. turkey exports to China, the second-leading destination, reached 38,838 tons, an increase of 78% from 2007. Exports to Russia, the third-leading market, were 11,819 tons, down 15% from a year earlier. Turkey exports to other markets such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Dominican Republic, and Haiti also increased significantly.

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