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CME: January Frozen Meat Inventories Lower Than a Year Ago

26 February 2014

US - USDA’s monthly "Cold Storage" report, released on Friday afternoon indicated frozen meat and poultry inventories as of 31 January were 4.4 per cent lower than one year ago but 4.7 per cent higher than at the end of December, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

The table on page 2 (see link below) shows all of the data for meat and poultry stocks. Some key numbers are:

  • Total beef supplies of 429.3 million pounds, 11.4 per cent lower than one year ago and 2.3 per cent lower than at the end of December. The largest percentage decline was for beef cuts (-37 per cent) but that category comprises only about 10 per cent of the total beef in freezers. More important is the roughly 12 million pounds reduction in boneless beef inventories as we approach spring weather and its likely enhancement of the push to retain cows and grow the beef cow herd — not a good thing for boneless beef output and supply. Further, lower steer and heifer slaughter is keeping fat trim (50 per cent lean) supplies very tight. Unfortunately, USDA provides little detail for the beef in freezers.

  • Pork stocks, at 623.7 million pounds were 2.9 per cent larger than one year ago and 12.5 per cent higher than at the end of December. Bellies stocks of 86.4 million pounds accounted for virtually ALL of the growth in pork stocks and are more than twice as large (+137 per cent) as one year ago. Is this the result of not having a bellies futures contract? Hams accounted for nearly half of the January growth in pork stocks and were 40.3 per cent larger than at the end of December. The total of 107.7 million pounds of hams was still slightly smaller than one year ago.

  • Broiler stocks were up 3.4 per cent from one year ago but down 0.8 per cent from last month. Export — primarily leg —product continues to account for the higher broiler stocks, coming in 23 per cent higher than one year ago and 19 per cent higher than on 31 December. Breast meat stocks are 12 per cent lower than last year.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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