U.S. Pork Supply Climbs 20% From a Year Ago, USDA Says

Pork stockpiles in the U.S. were 20 percent higher at the end of June than a year earlier, the government said.

Warehouses held 591.7 million pounds (268,384 metric tons) of the meat, up from 495.1 million on June 30, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Inventories fell 7 percent from the end of May.

While commercial pork output in June fell from the previous month, May production was at a record, USDA data show. For the six month through June 30, output rose to 11.376 billion pounds, up 2.6 percent from the same period in 2011, USDA data show. The gains in May contributed to the inventory boost, said Bob Brown, an independent market consultant in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Production has “been high all year,” Brown said in a telephone interview before the report. “Anytime you have a big increase in production, freezer stocks go up a little bit.”

Hog futures for October settlement fell 0.3 percent to settle at 79.8 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The commodity has declined 5.3 percent this year.

As of June 30, stockpiles of pork bellies, which are cured and sliced to make bacon, rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier to 49.1 million pounds, according to today’s report. Warehouse supplies of ham surged 18 percent to 147.4 million pounds.

Chicken-meat inventories at the end of June were 14 percent smaller than a year earlier at 647.3 million pounds, the USDA said. Beef supplies rose 8.8 percent to 470.8 million pounds.

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