A Few Thoughts By John Nalivka On the market


By John Nalivka, Opinion, Tri-State Livestock News

April 11, 2019


Beef markets continue to perform well. Demand, supported by strong U.S. export sales as well as U.S. consumer purchasing has been well balanced with beef supplies as we head into the 2nd quarter and Easter. That balance is key to the market outlook for the remainder of the year.


Demand is simply not as easy to quantify and instead, the discussion often becomes more anecdotal lacking the same information we have concerning supply herd size, cattle on feed inventories, slaughter, cold storage, carcass weights, production, etc. But, from the demand side, U.S. beef exports which are key to beef markets were up 10 percent in 2018 from the prior year while U.S. beef imports were unchanged. During January of this year, U.S. exports continued to perform in spite of higher prices and a strong dollar posting a 2 percent gain over the prior year.


While China has been on the radar as a key market for U.S. beef, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Canada, and Hong Kong are still our most important trading partners accounting for 82 percent of total U.S. beef exports. In 2018, Japan accounted for 28 percent of U.S. beef export volume with South Korea at 20 percent and Mexico at 14 percent. At the same time, only 1 percent of U.S. beef exports went to China.


In addition to beef exports, the pork industry is increasingly encouraged by...