Things to Consider….
The latest US Cold Storage numbers reported pork stocks at 406.7 million pounds for November, a decline of 35.1 million pounds or -7.9% from October. November’s volume of 406.7 million is the lowest reported monthly volume since the summer of 2010, when volume in August was reported at 388.2 million. It has been over 11 years since US pork stocks have been this low.
The monthly decline can be primarily attributed to a seasonal decline in hams which were offset by rises in other cuts. For reference, total pork in cold storage for October was revised higher from 439.6 to 441.8 million pounds. The latest tally of pork in cold storage is -3.1% or 13.1 million pounds under year ago levels.
Total hams in cold storage dropped 74.0 million pounds or -49.3% from last reported, with the bone-in variety down considerably more than boneless hams. Hams in cold storage typically decline from the seasonal peak reached in September through to the end of the year. The latest tally of hams in cold storage are up 1.1 million pounds or +1.5% over year ago levels, however are still well below levels recorded in other more recent years for this time. Bone-in picnics declined 280 thousand pounds or -4.4% from October, which are 2.8 million pounds or -31.4% under last year, while the category for Other pork declined 3.0 million pounds or -5.6% from October and are 8.4 million pounds or -14.2% under year ago levels.
Cold stored bellies recorded a significant jump from the levels recorded for October, up 13.6 million or +117.1% for November, though it's worth noting that October recorded the lowest belly stocks since September 2015. Compared to last year, bellies in cold storage are up 1.9 million or +8.2%. Spare-ribs were up 15.1 million pounds or +22.6% from a month earlier but was more modestly over last year, up +2.4% or 2.0 million pounds higher. Total loins were up 6.4 million pounds or +20.1% from October with the boneless variety up more than bone-in loins, bringing the category 1.3 million pounds or +3.4% over year ago levels. Trimmings rose 5.1 million pounds or +11.6% from October, bringing them 6.6 million pounds or +15.6% over last year, while butts climbed 1.9 million pounds or +12.4% in November which is 592 thousand or -3.4% compared to a year earlier.