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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports for January-November 2018.


Data for January-November 2018 indicates a moderate increase in export of broiler parts in comparison to the corresponding eleven months of 2017. Total broiler exports for January-November 2018 attained 2,942,983 metric tons, 4.2 percent more than the corresponding period in 2017 (2,822,218 metric tons). Total value improved by 1.3 percent to $2,924 million ($2,886 million).

During January-November 2018 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 3,041,628 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $3,314 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,046 per metric ton, 1.9 percent higher in value compared to the first eleven months of 2017 ($1,067 per m. ton).


The NCC breakdown of chicken exports by proportion and unit price for each broiler category for January-November 2018 compared with the equivalent months in 2017 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-

  • Chicken parts 96.0%; Unit value $975 per metric ton ($996)

  • Prepared chicken 2.7%; Unit value $3,562 per metric ton ($3,556)

  • Whole chicken 1.3%; Unit value $1,074 per metric ton ($1,007)

The following table prepared from USDA data circulated by the USAPEEC, compares values for poultry meat exports in January-November 2018 with corresponding figures for 2017:-

PRODUCT Jan.-Nov. 2017 Jan.-Nov. 2018 Difference

Broiler Meat

Volume (metric tons) 2,822,218 2,942,983 +120,765 (+4.2%)

Value ( $ million) 2,886 2,924 +38 (+1.3%)

Unit value ( $/m. ton) 1,023 994 -29 (- 2.8%)

Turkey Meat

Volume (metric tons) 258,333 254,941 -3,392 (-1.3%)

Value ($ million) 558 573 +15 (+2.8%)

Unit value ($/m. ton) 2,160 2,247 +87 (+4.0%)

Chicken Paws

Volume (metric tons) 170,839 162,685 -8,154 (-4.8%)

Value ($ million) 255 253 -2 (-0.8%)

Unit value ($/m. ton) 1,492 1,555 +63 (+4.2%)




Total broiler parts exports for the first eleven months of 2018 compared with the corresponding period in 2017 increased by 4.2 percent in volume and 1.3 percent in value. Unit value decreased 2.8 percent from $1,023 per metric ton to $994 per metric ton.

The U.S. broiler industry sells mostly leg quarters, an undifferentiated commodity, in a relatively static and price-sensitive market against competition from other exporters and the domestic production in importing nations. The gain in value of the U.S. Dollar relative to the currencies of Brazil, Argentina and Thailand adversely impacts competitiveness.

The top five importers of broiler meat represented 43.9 percent of shipments during the first eleven months of 2018. The top ten importers contributed 61.4 percent of volume, almost unchanged from the January-November 2017 report.

Mexico was the largest importer of broiler meat from the U.S. during January-November 2018 with 26.2 percent of volume and 16.3 percent of total value and a unit price of $801 per metric ton. Unit value in November 2018 declined by a significant 13.8 percent to $690 per m. ton compared with November 2017 but with volume up 19.8 percent contributing to a 3.8 percent decrease in total value.

Angola was the 2nd ranked importer by volume with 199,611 metric tons comprising 6.8 percent of broiler parts shipped. This Nation increased their import volume from the U.S. during January-November 2018 by 21.8 percent compared to the corresponding period in 2017.

Taiwan was the 3rd ranked broiler meat importer receiving 182,324 metric tons representing 6.2 percent of volume and 6.0 percent of value with a unit price of $934 per ton. Taiwan increased purchases by 36.5 percent over the eleven-month period in 2018 compared to 2017.

Cuba continues as the 4th ranked importer in January-November 2018 with 6.2 percent of volume but 4.9 percent of value attributed to the product mix with a unit price of $934 per metric ton. It is hoped that this trade worth $161 million in 2017 and $144 million during January-November 2018 will not be compromised by injudicious diplomatic activity or politically inspired restraints. This market is courted by both Brazil and Argentina.

South Africa was the subject of considerable litigation and Congressional pressure in 2015 and in 2016. The nation ranked 10 th during January-November 2018 with imports of 91,847 metric tons of in-bone product with a total value of $82.5 million (Unit value of $899 per metric ton). The volume of 95,254 m. tons imported in 2017 represented 3.1 percent of U.S. exports and was 165 percent higher than in 2016. In November 2018 South Africa ranked 20th for the month importing 4,011 m. tons valued at $3.1 million, respectively lower by 46.8 percent and 55.0 percent over November 2017. South African domestic producers continue to oppose imports from the U.S., the E.U. and Brazil using legal and political pressure. Prospects for continued exports to the RSA were restored by exempting the Nation from tariffs on steel and aluminum in accordance with the AGOA on which the 2016 importation agreement was based. Results for December 2018 will indicate whether the removal of duties on steel and aluminum from South Africa will restore imports. As a incidental issue it is apparent that exports of leg quarters to South Africa are transshipped to neighboring nations including Mozambique.

Nations with increased imports over the past eleven months included 3rd ranked Taiwan (+37 percent to 182,324 m. tons); 20 th ranked Dominican Republic (+64 percent to 44,921 m. tons) and 9th ranked Republic of Vietnam (+44 percent to 96,351 m. tons). These gains were offset by losses in Kazakhstan (-26 percent to 57,884 m. tons), Iraq (-28 percent to 47,315 m. tons) and the UAE (-15 percent to 46,729 m. tons).

There is consistent expansion of the ten, second-tier nations importing broiler meat with average monthly volumes ranging from 3,000 to 8,000 m. tons. This is attributed to the promotional activities of USAPEEC and their regional representatives interacting with traders.


The volume of turkey meat exported during January-November 2018 declined by 1.3 percent but value rose by 2.8 percent compared to January-November 2017 due to unit value increasing by 4.0 percent from $2,160 per metric ton to $2,247 per metric ton in 2018.

Mexico received 62.4 percent of turkey meat shipped during the first eleven months of 2018 (158,919 m. tons) representing almost the same quantity as in January-November 2017, (158,987 m. tons). Exports to Mexico corresponding to 62.5 percent ($357.1 million) of the total value of $573.4 million exported.

Hong Kong, the 2nd-ranked importer of turkey meat after Mexico increased volume by 22.0 percent in comparison to January-November 2017 attaining 14,983 metric tons. For November 2018, imports increased 44.1 percent to 1,538 m. tons compared to November 2017.

Collectively for the eleven-month period in 2018 the Caribbean and Central America represented 13.6 percent of turkey meat exports and 12.7 percent of value.


Exports of chicken paws during January-November 2018 declined by 4.8 percent in volume compared to January-November 2017 to 162,685 metric tons and with a 0.8 percent decline in total value. There was a 4.2 percent increase in unit value to $1,555 per metric ton. Hong Kong imported 93.0 percent of leg and paw shipments.

Trade in feet and paws was impacted by the unjustified blanket embargo imposed on the U.S. by China, our largest importer of paws at the beginning of May 2015. This action included all imports from the entire U.S. following outbreaks of H5N2 strain avian influenza in turkey grow-out operations, egg-producing complexes, non-commercial farms and wild birds in the Northwest and North Central states. These areas were completely separated from regions with broiler production.

The stock level of Paws and Feet will be documented in the delayed USDA Cold Storage Report to be released in mid-February.



The December 17th 2018 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook Report, the last released before the federal shutdown projected broiler exports of 3.221 million metric tons in 2019, 0.4 percent above 2018 and representing 16.4 percent of total RTC production of 19.66 million metric tons.

Projected exports of turkey products will amount to 270,000 metric tons, a 0.4 percent decrease compared to 2018 and representing 10.1 percent of 2019 production projected to be 2.68 million metric tons.

The Administration successfully renegotiated NAFTA into a new trilateral agreement termed the USMCA on September 30th. It is important to recognize that exports of chicken and turkey products to our NAFTA partners amounted to $1.288 billion in 2017 and 1.182 billion for the first eleven months of 2018.

Approximately 340 diagnoses of END were recorded in backyard flocks of predominantly fighting cocks in southern California and four cases in commercial egg production units. Diagnoses of LPAI have been made in organic commercial turkey farms in northern California followed by nine LPAI H5N2 cases among three counties in Minnesota during the past two months. These sporadic and rapidly-diagnosed and quarantined outbreaks should not affect exports of broiler or turkey products from the remaining non-affected counties in the U.S.

The live-bird market system, backyard flocks, fighting cocks and laying hens with outside access and potential contact with migratory birds represent an ongoing danger to the entire U.S. commercial industry and these segments of poultry production place at risk the eligibility of the industry to export.

Copyright 2019 Simon M. Shane