US pork supply grows as H1N1 obstructs demand
Pork supplies held in US storage grew to the highest June level ever as consumers chose other meat products during the spread in the novel influenza A virus (H1N1), international press agency Reuters reports.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data showed that total pork stocks in June of 262.5 million kg were down 1% from May but were up 9% from a year ago, and a record high at end-June.
The disease became known as 'swine flu' despite being spread by humans. Traders have blamed the spread of H1N1 to consumers shying away from pork. Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures have tumbled about 30% since peaking at $0.90/lb (or $1.98/kg).
Ron Plain, livestock economist at the University of Missouri, said the June data compared with the all-time record for any month of 301 million kg in storage on April 30, 2008.
Stocks were at a record high last year as the industry increased stocks to meet demand from China when the country hosted the summer Olympics in 2008.
Ham stocks rose 23% from end-May. "Ham prices were pathetic in June and apparently for good reason. For that much to be put into cold storage it obviously wasn't a product that was moving very fast," Plain said.
"Mexico was the biggest market for ham exports and the whole H1N1 thing slowed movement of product to the south."
University of Missouri
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)
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