U.S. trade data released for the month of July suggest that the high-valued U.S. dollar exchange rate continues to create a drag on U.S exports of red meat and dairy products. USDA lowered its second-half 2015 export forecast for beef by 55 million pounds.
While the second-half 2015 forecast for pork exports remains unchanged, July exports were lackluster, about half a percent lower than a year ago. Projected dairy exports were lowered from last month’s forecast on both the milk-fat and skim-solids milk-equivalent bases.
While other domestic economic factors work to slow U.S. shipments abroad—strong domestic demand for U.S. beef and dairy products, for example—the high-valued U.S. dollar effectively reduces the competitiveness of U.S. products in foreign markets by raising their prices for foreign buyers.
The extent of the appreciation of the dollar—and the challenge that it creates for U.S. animal products exports—is captured by the Federal Reserve’s broad dollar index, graphed below: