The latest available trade data totals for 2017 show that exported U.S. poultry, red meat, egg, and dairy products went mostly to Asia and NAFTA countries. Additional export shares were accounted for by Central/South America and the Caribbean (CSA&C) and the European Union with the balance attributed to the aggregate “Rest of World” (ROW).

The largest share of broiler exports (33 percent) went to ROW, 79 percent of them comprising exports to Africa and Middle Eastern countries, according to USDA’s latest Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook.

CSA&C accounted for 25 percent of broiler exports, Mexico for 20 percent, Asia for 18 percent, and Canada for 5 percent. The majority of turkey exports, 62 percent, went to Mexico. CSA&C countries took 17 percent, Asia accounted for 11 percent, Canada took 2 percent, and 8 percent went to ROW.

The largest destination for U.S. egg exports was Asia (33 percent), followed by Mexico (23 percent), Canada (19 percent), CSA&C (12 percent), ROW (7 percent) and the EU with 6 percent. Fifty percent of U.S. dairy exports went to Asia and 25 percent to Mexico. The ROW category accounted for 12 percent, CSA&C for 8 percent, Canada for 4 percent, and the E.U for 1 percent.

Broiler production and weights were up again in December, contributing to higher projected production, while recent price data resulted in a slightly higher price projection. Table egg production resumed its small but important contraction in December, and exports had strong growth. Recent price surges contributed to raised price projections. Initial estimates for 2017 annual turkey production were lower than 2016. With prices remaining well below historic averages, 2018 production is anticipated to decrease slightly as well.

December broiler meat production was 3.3 billion pounds, slightly above a year earlier. One less slaughter day than in 2016 reduced production growth from what it would have been otherwise. Bird weights were over a percent higher than a year earlier. Consistent year-over-year weight growth since May 2017, as seen in the chart below, has driven expectations for bird weights higher into 2018 and helped raise expected 2018 production by 150 million pounds.

Broiler exports in December were 571 million pounds, about 5 percent lower than a year earlier. Year-over-year declines were spread across a number of countries, including Kazakhstan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Hong Kong, Mexico, Georgia, and Colombia. Export losses were partially offset by significantly higher shipments to Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Projected exports for 2018 were raised 40 million pounds, in part because the raised production projection would result in greater supplies of dark meat that are typically exported.

During January, weekly prices for whole broilers (national composite) declined a few cents on a normal seasonal pattern, and the price was under 92 cents per pound for the week ending February 2. In the coming weeks moderate gains are expected on a typical seasonal pattern, and the first-quarter projection was increased slightly to 93-95 cents per pound.