Bloomberg News

U.S. Pork Supply Surges 20% on Higher Production, USDA Says

May 22, 2012

Pork stockpiles in the U.S. rose 20 percent at the end of April from a year earlier as production increased, the government said.

Warehouses held 659.5 million pounds of the meat, up from 549.3 million on April 30, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Inventories climbed 8.1 percent from the end of March.

U.S. commercial pork output in the three months through March 31 totaled 5.858 billion pounds (2.7 million metric tons), up 2.4 percent from 2011, government data show. April pork production in the U.S. may have been the fourth-highest on record and up 3 percent from a year earlier, said Bob Brown, an independent market analyst in Edmond, Oklahoma.

“Production and stocks seem to be correlated,” Brown said in a telephone interview before the report was released. “The higher the production, the higher the stocks.” The USDA will report on April output on May 25.

Hog futures for July settlement fell 1 percent to settle at 86.15 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices reached 85.8 cents after the close of regular trading, the lowest since May 15. The commodity is still up 2.2 percent this year.

As of April 30, stockpiles of pork bellies, which are cured and sliced to make bacon, surged 41 percent from a year earlier to 74.8 million pounds, according to today’s report. Warehouse supplies of ham were 46 percent higher at 112.6 million pounds.

While the report was “not wildly bearish by any means,” the increase in stockpiles was “certainly not supportive” and will “probably” weigh on hog prices tomorrow, Dan Vaught, the owner of Vaught Futures Insights, said in a telephone interview from Altus, Arkansas.

Chicken-meat inventories at the end of April were 18 percent smaller than a year earlier at 606.6 million pounds. Beef supplies on April 30 rose 17 percent to 517.5 million pounds, a record for the date, the USDA said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Campbell in Chicago at ecampbell14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.


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