US meat inventories as at 30 June declined 6% on the previous month, to 1.089 billion lbs (493,963 tonnes cwt), although remained 14.7% above the same period in 2011, according to the latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA’s) Cold Storage Report.
Driving the higher year-on-year volumes of meat in US cold storage at the end of June was the higher stocks of beef, pork, lamb and mutton, and turkey, in contrast to a decline in chicken inventories.
Despite the 5% year-on-year fall in beef production in June, beef volumes in US cold storage were 8% above year ago levels, at 470.8 million lbs (213,552 tonnes cwt).
The remaining high beef stocks at the end of June were mainly a result of the higher boneless beef volumes, and also reflective of stronger beef imports alongside declining exports.
The tight US domestic lean beef supplies, and the resultant high prices continued to attract more beef to the market.
Following a period of high stocks, US lamb and mutton inventories remained elevated in June, increasing 14.1% from the previous month, and 24.1 on June 2011, to 22.5 million lbs (10,206 tonnes cwt).
While US weekly sheep slaughter in June declined year-on-year, the higher inventories followed increased imports of frozen lamb from Australia.
Total pork inventories at the end of June also totalled 19.5% above the same period last year, at 591.7 million lbs (268,391 tonnes cwt). Despite this, pork stocks declined 7% compared with May.
Although US pork production in 2012 is expected to be assisted by higher litter rates and average carcase weights, to total 2.4% above 2011’s output, the medium term outlook for expansion is anticipated to be tempered by the reduced prospects for US corn production in 2012-13, alongside the accompanying expectations for significantly higher corn prices.
Meanwhile, chicken inventories increased 0.9% in June, to 647.3 million lbs (293,611 tonnes cwt).
Chicken stocks in June remained 14.4% below year ago levels, attributed to declines in volume of major cuts, most significantly in the inventories of breast and breast meat (down 32.6%), leg quarters (down 27.2%) and wings (down 36.2%).
The exception was for leg volumes, which totalled 44.8% higher than the same period last year.
The USDA forecasts chicken in US cold storage to gradually increase for the remainder of 2012, as a decline in chicken exports are likely to offset the fall in production.
With adverse weather conditions in many areas of the US impacting corn production, rising grain prices are anticipated to result in a less rapid recovery in chicken production in the second half of 2012.
US chicken production in 2012 is forecast to decline 1% on the previous year, before recovering 1% in 2013, to 36.7 billion lbs (16.6 million tonnes cwt).
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