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U.S. beef and pork price relief probably won’t last

UPDATED: Tue., June 14, 2022

Pork chops are displayed for sale at a Whole Foods Market location in Burbank, Calif., on June 20, 2018.   (Bloomberg )
Pork chops are displayed for sale at a Whole Foods Market location in Burbank, Calif., on June 20, 2018.  (Bloomberg )
By Zijia Song Bloomberg

Producer prices of beef and pork fell in May, but the reprieve isn’t expected to last long.

Prices paid to beef and veal producers fell 9.5% last month from April levels and about 14% year on year, with pork prices posting their own decline, Labor Department data showed Tuesday.

The falling prices are in sharp contrast to poultry, which continues to soar as bird flu slams the country’s chicken and turkey supply.

The pullback in red meat pricing at the producer level – essentially wholesale prices and not guaranteed to trickle down to consumers – comes as the Department of Agriculture expects an elevated slaughter rate of hogs and cattle this year, including cows typically held back for breeding.

That said, increased slaughter this year might lead to fewer cattle and pigs for 2023 and beyond, potentially pushing red meat prices up further in the future.

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