U.S. Pork Inventory Rises 14% on Increased Output, USDA Says

Pork inventories in the U.S. rose 14 percent at the end of December from a year earlier as production increased, the government said.

Warehouses held 554.4 million pounds of the meat, up from 484.5 million on Dec. 31, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Inventories were down 0.8 percent from the end of November.

Commercial pork output in the first 11 months of 2012 totaled 21.297 billion pounds (9.66 million metric tons), 2.9 percent more than in the same period in the previous year, government data show.

“We still had big production,” Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc., said in a telephone interview from West Des Moines, Iowa, before the report. “I don’t see that we had a drawdown.”

Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.2 percent to close at 88.275 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices have climbed 3 percent this year.

As of Dec. 31, stockpiles of pork bellies, which are cured and sliced to make bacon, fell 11 percent from a year earlier to 36.8 million pounds, according to today’s report. Warehouse supplies of ham surged 47 percent from a year earlier to 81.9 million pounds, the highest for the date since at least 1957, the USDA said.

Chicken-meat inventories at the end of December were 7.9 percent larger than a year earlier at 679.3 million pounds, the USDA said. Beef supplies rose 1.8 percent to 465.5 million pounds.

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