US beef cold stores increase, pork and lamb subside

31 January 2017

The latest USDA cold storage report indicates that, as at 31 December 2016, total frozen red meat inventories in the US were 2% lower year-on-year. Frozen beef inventories, however, were up 11% year-on-year, at approximately 255,000 tonnes. Pork cold stores dropped 13% from the same period last year, with a notable 67% decline in pork bellies.

The Daily Livestock Report (Vol. 15, No. 18) by Steiner Consulting Group highlights that the increase in beef cold stores in December was the second largest increase for the month since 2006; on the other hand cold store pork bellies were at a record low for the same period (approximately 8,000 tonnes).  Lamb and mutton cold stores fell 37% year-on-year, at 492,000 tonnes, while poultry inventories were up 2% year-on-year.

Steiner Consulting Group reports the increase in frozen beef inventories is consistent with US beef exports in the last quarter of 2016 that are on track to be up 15%-20% from the previous year, and beef imports that are running 5%-10% above the same quarter in 2015. USDA beef import data for November (latest available data) increased 12% year-on-year, whilst US beef exports were 24% higher for the month. However, looking at the first quarter of 2017, the US Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) currently expects US beef imports to decline 10%-15% year-on-year. 

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