U.S. Pork Inventories Decline 0.8% in Outdoor Grilling Season

Pork stockpiles in the U.S. fell 0.8 percent at the end of July from a year earlier during the outdoor grilling season, the government said.

Warehouses held 545.260 million pounds of pork, down from 549.621 million on July 31, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Inventories fell 3.5 percent from the end of June.

A drop in stockpiles is “pretty common” for this time of year because the grilling season tends to peak in late June and early July, which draws down the grilling cuts, Dan Vaught, an economist at Doane Advisory Services in St. Louis, said in a telephone interview before the report.

Hog futures for October settlement fell 0.9 percent to 85.05 cents a pound at 9:39 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices have gained 0.1 percent this year through yesterday.

As of July 31, stockpiles of pork bellies, which are cured and sliced to make bacon, rose 0.7 percent from a year earlier to 28.145 million pounds, according to today’s report.

Warehouse supplies of ham rose 15.1 percent to 181.650 million pounds, the highest in records dating back to 1957.

Chicken-meat inventories at the end of July were 5.3 percent larger than a year earlier at 685.092 million pounds, the USDA said.

Beef supplies rose 0.6 percent to 463.921 million pounds.

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