Recent trade data for red meat, poultry and dairy products show a continuing decline in exports and higher year-over-year imports, pushing the value of net exports down by more than 50 percent compared to a year ago.
The strengthening value of the U.S. dollar -which is up more than 15 percent from a year ago against major currencies -is one factor behind these results.
A stronger dollar makes U.S. products more expensive in international markets, while making imported products purchased with U.S. dollars less expensive.
In addition to currency exchange-rate effects, several other factors are reducing the export prospects for the U.S. beef, poultry, and egg sectors.
For beef, continued high U.S. domestic prices due to tight supplies are discouraging foreign buyers and supporting U.S. imports. U.S. 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 U.S. outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) last spring and the resulting import bans by several countries that remain in effect.
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 U.S. dollar especially against the Canadian dollar and the euro.
This chart is from the November 2015 Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook report.