U.S. Pork Inventories Decline 6.1% in October as Demand Gains

Pork stockpiles in the U.S. dropped 6.1 percent at the end of October from a year earlier, the government said.

Warehouses held 566.7 million pounds of pork, down from 603.502 million on Oct. 31, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report in Washington. Inventories fell 0.2 percent from the end of September.

Beef production is expected to fall 1.2 percent this year, according to the latest USDA forecasts, and exports of the meat are up 3.9 percent in the nine months through Sept. 30. U.S. pork output declined 0.7 percent in the 10 months through Oct. 31, government data show.

“With this year’s slight decline in beef production and very aggressive beef exports, pork has found a larger role in the domestic meat market than we expected,” Rich Nelson, the chief strategist at Allendale Inc. in McHenry, Illinois, said in a telephone interview before the report.

As of Oct. 31, stockpiles of pork bellies, which are cured and sliced to make bacon, rose 46.5 percent from a year earlier to 27.429 million pounds, according to today’s report. Warehouse supplies of ham climbed 3.4 percent to a record-high 192.56 million pounds.

Chicken-meat inventories at the end of October were 8.2 percent larger than a year earlier at 706.255 million pounds, the USDA said. Beef supplies rose 3.1 percent to 443.593 million pounds during the same period.

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