Market News & Headlines >> Frozen pork, cattle placements higher than expected

SDA reports on pork in cold storage and cattle placements were both bearish versus market expectations Friday afternoon.

The number of cattle placed into feedlots in February jumped 15% from a year ago to 1.65 million head, USDA said it its monthly Cattle on Feed report. Analysts were expecting an increase of 9.2%. Record-high cattle prices have helped to encourage placements.

The total number of cattle on feed was 10.790 million, a 1% decline from a year ago. Analysts had on average expected a drop of 1.2%. Marketings In February were down 3% from a year ago, versus the average pre-report estimate of a 3.3% drop.

Meanwhile the Cold Storage report showed frozen pork stocks as of the end of February much higher than expected at 653.8 million, up from 633.4 million a year ago and 618.7 million a month earlier. Analysts were expecting pork stocks of 638.5 million, according to a Wall Street Journal survey. Processors are stocking up on pork in preparation for the summer season, which typically sees increased demand and in this case will also include the effects of the ongoing PED virus, which has hurt the hog supply.

Frozen beef stocks came in at 407.1 million pounds, 1.1 million below the average trade guess and down from 490, million a year ago.

Chicken in cold storage totaled 676.9 million pounds, well above the consensus pre-report estimate of 667.1 million and up from 652.6 million a year ago.