The United States has further strengthened its position as a net exporter of beef to Canada in recent months, while U.S.-Canada pork trade is trending in the opposite direction. Canada has also posted significantly larger pork exports to Mexico this year, while its beef exports to Mexico have fallen sharply.
Canada’s beef exports – of which 71 percent are still bound for the U.S. – drifted lower in July (21,181 mt, -8 percent from a year ago), with the only significant growth being to Hong Kong and China. For January through July, exports fell 11 percent to 160,365 mt, despite a very large increase to Japan (9,878, +88 percent). This was more than offset by lower exports to the United States (113,883, -13 percent) and Mexico (8,684 mt, -45 percent).
Canada’s January-July beef imports were up 8 percent to 130,207 mt, led by larger imports from the United States (10,725 mt, +8 percent), Uruguay (10,171 mt, +49 percent), and Australia (8,729 mt, +18 percent). Imports from New Zealand were lower (10,725 mt, -22 percent). The increase in imports of U.S. beef is particularly noteworthy given that the Canadian dollar has weakened fairly steadily against the U.S. dollar in 2013.
Driven by the stronger U.S. dollar, U.S. feeding advantage and closure of a Canadian cow kill plant, U.S. live cattle imports from Canada (through August) were up 35 percent to 641,265 head, including higher imports of feeders (172,630 head, +67 percent) and slaughter cows (179,668, +84 percent). Direct-slaughter fed cattle imports fell 1 percent to 238,786 head. Canada’s domestic cattle slaughter (through mid-August) was 8 percent below last year’s pace at 1.62 million head.
Net exports of U.S. beef to Mexico also widened in July and were the largest since January 2012. U.S. exports to Mexico were 13,473 mt while U.S. imports of Mexican beef were 8,359 mt. For January through July, the totals were 66,640 mt of U.S. beef to Mexico (-10 percent from a year ago) and 60,862 mt of Mexican beef imported into the U.S. (+17 percent).
U.S. imports of Mexican feeder cattle have fallen sharply in 2013, down 45 percent through August to 571,716 head, following record imports of 1.47 million head last year.
Mexico has suffered similar drought conditions to Texas and the Southwest and has liquidated a significant percent of its herd. Cattle prices have been higher in Mexico this year, with tighter supplies and some incentives to rebuild herds. This has meant fewer cattle are coming north.
Canada’s pork/pork variety meat exports in July were up 7 percent from a year ago to 91,092 mt. For January through July, exports were down slightly to 632,562 mt despite a 9 percent increase to the United States (186,716 mt) and significant growth to China (101,966 mt, +37 percent), Mexico (36,364 mt, +36 percent), the Philippines (29,290 mt, +54 percent) and Taiwan (19,581 mt, +85 percent). These gains were offset by declining shipments to Japan (97,979 mt, -14 percent) and Russia (44,287, -61 percent with Canada also facing ractopamine related restrictions).
Canada’s January-July pork imports were down nearly 3 percent to 110,026 mt. Imports of U.S. pork declined (104,218 mt, -3 percent) as U.S. net imports from Canada widened. Canada’s imports from the EU were higher (4,560 mt, +27 percent) led by growth from Germany.
U.S. live hog imports from Canada (through August) were down 9 percent to 3.29 million head, including lower imports of feeders (2.69 million, -11 percent) and direct slaughter barrows and gilts (243,033, -9 percent). Slaughter sow imports were up 3 percent to 299,957 head.
Through mid-August, Canada’s domestic hog slaughter was down 1 percent from a year ago to 12.45 million head. As of July 1, Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs was 12.9 million head. This was up 1 percent year-over-year and up 2 percent from July 2011. The breeding inventory, at 1.22 million head, was up slightly from last year and up 1 percent from 2011. Market hog inventory, at 11.7 million head, was up 1 percent from last year and up 2 percent from 2011. The semi-annual pig crop, at 13.9 million head, was down 2 percent from 2012 and down 1 percent from 2011. Sows farrowing during this period totaled 1.28 million head, down 4 percent from a year ago and down 6 percent from 2011.
While the United States still holds nearly 90 percent of Mexico’s imported pork market, Canada has made modest inroads over the past few years. Through June, Mexico’s imports of Canadian pork totaled 37,905 mt, which is 28 percent higher than a year ago and up 32 percent from 2011. Canada’s market share in 2013 is 10.3 percent, compared to 8.7 percent a year ago and 9.3 percent in 2011. U.S. market share during the same period is 89 percent, down slightly from the previous two years.
Mexico’s total pork exports were up 14 percent in the first half of this year (to 39,131 mt), but exports to the United States fell 18 percent to 4,148 mt. More than 80 percent (31,719 mt) of Mexico’s pork exports in 2013 were destined for Japan, where Mexico benefits from an economic partnership agreement. This total is 30 percent higher than a year ago and up nearly 50 percent from 2011.