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U.S. Pork Supply Rises 2.3% as Exports Decline, USDA Says

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March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Pork inventories in the U.S. increased 2.3 percent at the end of February from a year earlier as production gained and exports fell, the government said.

Warehouses held 636.69 million pounds of pork, up from 622.67 million on Feb. 29, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Inventories rose 5 percent from the end of January.

U.S. exporters shipped 423.116 million pounds (191,922 metric tons) of pork in January, down 16 percent from 501.88 million pounds in the same period a year earlier. Wholesale pork fell 4.4 percent last month, the biggest slide since August, USDA data show. Pork output rose 2.2 percent to 23.25 billion pounds last year, government data show.

“You’ve got pork production up, and you’ve got lack of exports,” Dick Quiter, an account executive at McFarland Commodities LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview before the report. “They’re not reaching into the freezer to make up any differences anywhere.”

Hog futures for June settlement fell 0.4 percent to 89.225 cents a pound at 12:11 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices were up 4.5 percent this year through yesterday.

As of Feb. 28, stockpiles of pork bellies, which are cured and sliced to make bacon, fell 31 percent from a year earlier to 42.7 million pounds, according to today’s report. Warehouse supplies of ham rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier to 110.5 million pounds.

Chicken-meat inventories at the end of February were 6.1 percent larger than a year earlier at 636.2 million pounds, the USDA said. Beef supplies rose 4.1 percent to 490.3 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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