Protein exports on the decline

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ERS-USDA Animal Protein Exports chart
High prices for domestic supplies of animal proteins coupled with a strong US dollar have stifled exports of US red meat, poultry and dairy.

WASHINGTON – A stronger US dollar is one factor behind the continuing decline in exports of red meat, poultry and dairy products, the Economic Research Service of the US Dept. of Agriculture reported.

Recent trade data also show higher year-over-year imports, which is pushing down the value of net exports by more than 50 percent.

“A stronger dollar makes US products more expensive in international markets, while making imported products purchased with US dollars less expensive,” ERS said.

Additional factors impacting exports of animal protein include high prices for domestic supplies of animal proteins, which are discouraging foreign buyers and supporting US imports. US supplies of beef have been tight due to the smallest cattle herd in 80 years. Also, more cattle are being held back for herd rebuilding. Poultry growers are recovering from the impact of a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak, while pork producers have just recovered from an outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.

“US export shipments of broilers, turkeys, and eggs are each down sharply from the same time last year (down 22 percent, 44 percent and 29 percent, respectively) reflecting the production declines” caused by the HPAI outbreak last spring and “the resulting import bans by several countries that remain in effect,” ERS reported.

“Pork exports were relatively strong in the third quarter of 2015, up 7.5 percent from a year ago, but imports were also up 5 from percent from a year ago, reflecting the strength of the US dollar especially against the Canadian dollar and the euro.”

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