US - The supply of beef, pork and poultry in cold storage at the end of March was 2.235 billion pounds, 0.7 per cent lower than a year ago and 1.2 per cent lower than the previous month, write CME analysts Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
In four of the last five years March inventories increased from the previous month. Only in 2014 inventories were down. The fact that inventories declined should be seen as positive for prices going into the high demand spring period.
Total beef in cold storage was 467.0 million pounds, 3 per cent lower than the previous year and 0.5 per cent lower than the five year average. Beef inventories declined 5 per cent compared to the previous month and they are now 10 per cent lower than just two months ago.
The backlog of fat trim has been cleaned up and lower imports also have contributed to the reduction in beef refrigerated stocks. This may be viewed as supportive for beef prices going into Memorial Day.
Total pork inventories at the end of March were 614.2 million pounds, 8.7 per cent lower than a year ago and now 0.3 per cent lower than the five year average.
March inventories also were down 2.4 per cent from the previous month, in line with the normal drawdown for this time of year, helped in part by an early Easter (lower ham inventories).
Pork belly stocks were down 4.8 per cent from last year but inventories of pork ribs are up 27 per cent and inventories of pork loins were up 13 per cent. Probably one of the more supportive items in the report was the inventory of pork trim, down 35 per cent from last year and 23.5 per cent lower than the five year average.
Hog slaughter has been relatively high in Q1 but trim markets appear to be very current and this has likely been the reason for the sharp price escalation in pork trim values the last two weeks. The price of 72CL pork trim is now almost double year ago levels.
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