Bloomberg News

U.S. Pork Inventories Gain 4.1% as Export Demand Slows

June 21, 2013

Pork inventories in the U.S. rose 4.1 percent at the end of May from a year earlier, the government said, as overseas demand for U.S. meat slowed.

Warehouses held 661.786 million pounds of pork, up from 636.017 million on May 31, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Inventories fell 5.6 percent from a revised 700.977 million pounds at the end of April that was larger than initially reported.

U.S. exporters shipped 1.61 billion pounds (732,444 metric tons) of pork in the four months through April 30, down 15 percent from the same period a year earlier, the latest USDA data show. Pork production is projected to rise 0.7 percent this year and add another 2.6 percent in 2014, the government has forecast.

“Part of the deal is January, March, even though April, exports in pork have not been too good,” Bob Brown, an independent market consultant in Edmond, Oklahoma, said in a telephone interview before the report. “Whenever you’re at a particular level of exports, and then it drops off, the market has a hard time getting adjusted to that.”

Hog futures for August settlement fell 0.7 percent to 97.6 cents a pound at 8:01 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices advanced 15 percent this year through yesterday.

As of May 31, stockpiles of pork bellies, which are cured and sliced to make bacon, fell 16.6 percent from a year earlier to 54.740 million pounds, according to today’s report. Warehouse supplies of ham rose 21.5 percent from a year earlier to 156.550 million pounds.

Chicken-meat inventories at the end of May were 5.9 percent larger than a year earlier at 679.338 million pounds, the USDA said. Beef supplies fell 3.9 percent to 478.528 million pounds.

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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