Monday’s monthly USDA Cold Storage report could be seen as supportive for beef and fed cattle markets as frozen beef supplies as of Aug. 31 were down from last year, a market analyst said.
However, pork inventories rose from the 2018 report, which, given the international trade issues currently facing the industry, could be seen as bearish, even to the point of holding beef and cattle markets in check, the analyst said. Some cuts even recorded record-high volumes on ice in this latest report.
Frozen poultry supplies on Aug. 31 were down from a year ago, along with the beef, as chicken and turkey stocks declined from a year ago.
BEEF SUPPLIES DECLINE
Total pounds of beef in cold storage on Aug. 31 came to 469.380 million, up 17.462 million, or 3.86%, from 451.918 million a month ago but down 31.935 million, or 6.37%, from 501.315 million a year ago.
The volume of boneless beef in cold storage came to 433.202 million pounds, up 16.825 million, or 4.04%, from 416.317 million, but down 24.190 million, or 5.29%, from 457.392 million a year ago.
The volume of beef cuts in US freezers on Aug. 31 came to 36.178 million pounds, up 637,000, or 1.79%, from 35.541 million a month earlier but down 7.745 million, or 17.6%, from 43.923 million a year earlier.
PORK SUPPLIES RISE
Total supplies of pork in cold storage on Aug. 31 came to 606.024 million pounds, down 5.671 million, or 0.93%, from 611.695 million a month earlier but up 24.511 million, or 4.22%, from 581.513 million a year earlier.
Pork bellies in the nation’s freezers amounted to 45.089 million pounds, down 7.558 million, or 14.4%, from 52.647 million a month earlier but up 10.284 million, or 29.5%, from 34.805 million a year earlier.
The total amount of hams in cold storage came to 202.546 million pounds, up 19.991 million, or 11.0%, from 182.555 million a month ago but down 2.217 million, or 1.08%, from 204.763 million a year ago.
The amount of boneless hams on ice was a new August record high at 121.822 million pounds.
The total volume of pork loins in cold storage came to 42.414 million pounds, down 3.915 million, or 8.45%, from 46.329 million a month earlier but up 11.839 million, or 38.7%, from 30.575 million a year earlier. This was a record August high for loins.
Stocks of bone-in pork loins also set a record August high at 19.915 million pounds, down 847,000, or 4.08%, from 20.762 million a month earlier but up 10.105 million, or 103.0%, from 9.810 million a year ago.
The amount of ribs in cold storage for this report was a new August high of 79.297 million pounds, down 5.570 million, or 6.56%, from 84.867 million a month ago but up 1.494 million, or 1.92%, from 77.803 million a year ago.
Pork butts came to 16.146 million pounds, down from 18.363 million a month ago but up from 11.498 million a year ago.
CATTLE, BEEF RECAP
Cash cattle trade was reported last week at $100 to $104 per cwt, up $1 from the previous week. Dressed-basis trade last week was at $160 to $165, up $1 to $3.
The USDA choice cutout Monday was down $0.52 per cwt at $216.45, while select was off $0.88 at $190.84. The choice/select spread widened to $25.61 from $25.25 with 84 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.
The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Friday was $139.68 per cwt, up $1.15 from the previous day. This compares with Monday’s Sep contract settlement of $141.60, up $1.27, and the Oct settlement of $141.25, up $2.05.