January 8 Weekly Update

01/08 – We enter 2018 with abundant protein supplies. Combined beef, pork and poultry in cold storage on Dec 1st totaled 2.179B lbs, 4.9% above a year ago. Beef production was up 4.3% in 2017 with another (projected) 4.9% coming in 2018. Pork output was up 2.5% in 2017, with a 5.3% jump expected for 2018. Broiler output, up 2.1% in 2017, will grow at a 1.8% pace in 2018 due to moderating bird weights. Despite large supplies, cattle prices held up in 2017, with hog and broiler prices well above year ago levels. Exports sales have been a key price support. Beef exports were up 12.5% in in 2017 and are projected to increase by another 3.8% in 2018. Pork exports, up 6.7% in 2017, and forecast up 5.6% in 2018. Broiler exports up just 1.0% in 2017 (due to lingering avian flu bans) are projected to recover to 2.9% in 2018. If exports don’t hold, prices will falter in 2018.