Frozen Pork Supplies Up; Beef Down

Total red meat supplies in US freezers as of Jan. 31 were up 9% from a month earlier and up 1% from last year, the USDA said in its monthly cold storage report.

A market analyst said the report could weigh on lean hog futures as volumes of readily available pork and chicken climb above last year.  However, the report could be seen as supportive for nearby cattle futures since beef supplies declined from a year earlier.

Immediate reaction for live cattle futures also could be muted as investors await Friday afternoon’s scheduled release of the USDA’s monthly Cattle on Feed report.  The report was expected to show larger inventories of cattle in the nation’s feedlots.

Total pounds of beef on ice were up 2% from the previous month but were down 7% from a year earlier.  Frozen pork supplies were up 16% from the previous month and were up 8% from last year.  Pork belly supplies were up 13% from December and were up 219% from a year earlier.

Total frozen poultry supplies in cold storage were up 4% from a month earlier and up 12% from a year ago.  Chicken supplies were down 1% from Dec. 31 but up f13% from last year.  Turkey inventories were up 21% from December and up 10% from a year earlier.




Generalities aside, the total amount of beef in US cold storage facilities came to 499.554 million pounds, up 11.497 million, or 2.36%, from 488.057 million on Dec. 31, 2017.  The price-supportive side of the report comes from the fact that total beef supplies were down 38.661 million, or 7.18%, from 538.215 million a year earlier.

The total supply of boneless beef in US freezers at the end of January was reported at 456.851 million pounds, up 10.970 million, or 2.46%, from 445.881 million on Dec. 31.  Supplies were down 42.149 million pounds, or 8.45%, from 499.000 million a year earlier.

Beef cuts in cold storage amounted to 42.703 million pounds, up 527,000, or 1.25%, from 42.176 million a month earlier and up 3.488 million, or 8.89%, from 39.215 million.




Total pounds of pork in cold storage as of Jan. 31 were 567.984 million, up 77.937 million, or 15.9%, from a month earlier and up 77.937 million, or 15.9%, from 490.047 million on Dec. 31 and up 43.769 million, or 8.35%, from 524.215 million a year earlier.

All categories of pork cuts were up from a month earlier while some cuts were below a year ago.  Notable year-on-year declines came in ribs and variety meats, which were down 13% and 31%, respectively.

However, the often-watched supply of pork bellies was up sharply from a year ago.  Stocks of 44.674 million pounds were up 5.054 million, or 12.8%, from 39.620 million a month earlier, and up 30.679 million, or 219.2%, from 13.995 million a year earlier.




No fed cattle sold Wednesday on the Livestock Exchange Video Auction for the second straight week.

Cash cattle are trading this week at mostly $128 to $129 per cwt on a live basis, down $1 to $2 from the bulk of last week’s action.  Dressed-basis sales were reported in Iowa at $205, about steady.

The USDA’s choice cutout Thursday was up $1.03 per cwt at $218.40, while select was up $0.14 at $212.06.  The choice/select spread widened to $6.34 from $5.45 with 82 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.

The CME Feeder Cattle index for the seven days ended Wednesday, was $148.05 per cwt, up $0.06.  This compares with Thursday’s Mar settlement of $146.00, down $0.65.