Shell eggs, exports from the U.S. during the first seven months of 2015 decreased by 4.5 percent in volume and 4.5 percent in total value. Unit value increased 8.9 percent to $1.26 per dozen for the period. Canada was the noteworthy importer, with 40.7 million dozen or 43.6 percent of U.S. shipments of shell eggs. Mexico was second-ranked with 29.8 percent of volume and 27.0 percent of value. Collectively, East Asia and the Caribbean represented 23.8 percent of shipments of 22.2 million dozen. In July 2015 exports declined by 80.0 percent over the corresponding month in 2014 to 10.1 million dozen. This value can be compared to the average of 15.6 million dozen over the first four months of 2015 prior to the onset of H5N2 HPAI in the Midwest or a 35.3 percent decline. Although shell-egg producers were relatively unaffected by HPAI in July 2015 compared to liquid producers, the volume of exports was restrained by diversion of shell eggs into the domestic table market and for breaking stock to optimize revenue, compared to export at $1.25 to $1.35 per dozen. Unit value of exports in July rose to $1.57 given a volume of 10.1 million dozen and a value of $15.9 million respectively for the month. This escalation in price was not comparable to the domestic value of breaking stock at $2.30 in late July and compares with $1.00 per dozen in mid-April before the impact of HPAI on in-line breaking complexes.
The total volume of exported egg products during January through July 2015 declined by 27.0 percent and total value decreased by 22.5 percent compared to the first seven months of 2014 although this was offset by an 11.1 percent increase in unit value to $2,914 per ton reflecting the disparity between supply and demand. According to the September 14th release by USAPEEC, shipments to Japan decreased by 29.5 percent by volume and 18.1 percent by value respectively to 5,734 metric tons and $22.1 million compared to the first seven months of 2014.
For July 2015 the export volume of 1,274 tons can be compared to 4,037 metric tons in July 2014 or the average of 4,280 tons per month for the period January through April 2015 prior to the advent of HPAI which disproportionately affected mortality in large in-line egg-breaking complexes in Iowa and Nebraska. Although this decline in volume of egg products in July reduced value by 54.3 percent to $4.7 million compared to July 2014, a 44.6 percent compensatory increase in unit value to $3,689 per metric ton was obtained compared to an average of $2,551 during July 2014.
U.A exports of shell eggs should not in theory be adversely affected directly by avian influenza outbreaks since the epornitic did not materially affect complexes producing for this segment of the industry. Export volume will however be depressed going forward from May 2015 as shell eggs previously consigned to export will be retained for more profitable domestic markets (USDA Combined Region Large attained $2.35 per dozen on August 3rd) or will be diverted to breaking stock which attained a range of $2.34 to $2.40 per dozen for the week ending August 3rd 2015.
Exports of egg products should not be embargoed in terms of OIE Requirements as a result of HPAI, since liquids are pasteurized and egg powders are dried, effectively inactivating virus. The problem facing exporters relates to the loss of about 35 percent of flocks producing for this market, seriously reducing supply. At this time the USDA has accepted the principle of allowing importation of processed egg products from the Netherlands. The volumes of importation of liquid and shell-egg breaking stock will become apparent in statistics released in October, reflecting September transactions. An EGG-CITE posting on September 2nd documented importation of 10.9 million dozen nest-run eggs for breaking over the period June 23rd through August 13th corresponding to the output of a hypothetical flock of 4 million hens.
The prospects for reduced export of shell eggs and products for the immediate and interim future will create problems for our NAFTA trading partners who have become dependent on the U.S. for a proportion of their requirements. There have been no further cases of HPAI reported since mid-June but exports will be impacted for at least 8 months going forward as repopulation will be a lengthy process even if no further cases of HPAI emerge in the Fall of this year or the Spring of 2016. The ongoing deficit in production is due to the loss of 38 million hens and 3 million replacement pullets supplying breaking operations and the time required to effectively decontaminate and re-stock affected mega-complexes holding more than 3 million hens.