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Pork, beef stocks seen rocketing higher

06/19/2013 @ 8:50am

U.S. frozen pork and beef stocks at the end of May are expected to be at all-time highs for that date and nearly 19% above their respective five-year averages.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is scheduled to release its monthly cold storage data Friday at 3:00 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).

The Agriculture Department is expected to report frozen pork supplies at about 663 million pounds, down 5.1% from the all-time high hit the previous month, according to the average prediction of three analysts in a Dow Jones Newswires survey. The consensus of the estimates was 4.2% above a year ago and 18.6% above the five-year average. According to five-year data, pork stocks during May typically decline by nearly 35 million pounds from the previous month.

The current record for end-May pork stocks is 636 million pounds set in 2012, said Bob Brown, a private analyst in Edmond, Okla. Mr. Brown predicts pork in storage at 664 million pounds, a decrease of 35.8 million pounds from April. Rich Nelson, chief strategist at Allendale Inc., estimated pork stocks at nearly 662 million pounds.

The increase in frozen pork stocks from a year ago is expected despite a 0.8% decline in U.S. production so far this year. Slowed export sales have put more of the output onto the domestic market and into cold storage warehouses.

The average of analysts' estimates for hams in storage at the end of May was 141.2 million pounds, up 12.5% from the previous month and 9.5% more than a year ago. The average estimate represents an increase of 15.7 million pounds in the latest month, compared with a five-year average gain of 16.9 million pounds.

Supplies of frozen pork bellies in the nation's freezers at the end of May were estimated at 51.5 million pounds, down from 56.4 million the previous month and 21.5% below a year ago. The estimate is 22.7% below the five-year average.

The average of estimates for frozen beef stocks was 511.5 million pounds, up 1.5 million pounds, or 0.3%, from the previous month and 2.7% above a year ago. The estimates for beef ranged from 507.8 million pounds to 515.1 million pounds. Beef stocks were seen about 19.1% above the five-year average.

Frozen chicken stocks are expected to be around 690 million pounds, up 3.2% from the previous month and 7.5% above the year-ago figure, but 1.1% below the five-year average.

Write to Curt Thacker at curt.thacker@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 19, 2013 08:15 ET (12:15 GMT)
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