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- CRB Fundamentals - 2008 Commodity Articles

Tallow and Greases

Tallow and grease are derived from processing (rendering) the fat of cattle. Tallow is used to produce both edible and inedible products. Edible tallow products include margarine, cooking oil, and baking products. Inedible tallow products include soap, candles, and lubricants. Production of tallow and greases is directly related to the number of cattle produced. Those countries that are the leading cattle producers are also the largest producers of tallow. The American Fats and Oils Association provides specifications for a variety of different types of tallow and grease, including edible tallow, lard (edible), top white tallow, all beef packer tallow, extra fancy tallow, fancy tallow, bleachable fancy tallow, prime tallow, choice white grease, and yellow grease. The specifications include such characteristics as the melting point, color, density, moisture content, insoluble impurities, and others.

Prices - The monthly average price of tallow (inedible, No. 1 Packers-Prime, delivered Chicago) in 2007 rose +64.8% yr/yr to a record high of 27.83 cents per pound. The wholesale price of inedible tallow in 2007 rose +64.9% yr/yr to a record high of 30.72 cents per pound.

Supply - World production of tallow and greases (edible and inedible) in 2005, the latest available reporting year, fell by -0.6% yr/yr to 8.200 million metric tons, down from the record high of 8.251 million metric tons posted in 2004. The world's largest producer of tallow and greases by far is the U.S. with 44% of world production, followed by Brazil with 7%, Australia with 6%, and Canada with 4%.

U.S. production of edible tallow in 2005 fell -4.2% yr/yr to 1.741 billion pounds, down from the 2002 record high of 1.974. U.S. production of inedible tallow and greases in 2006 rose by +4.1% yr/yr to 6.460 billion pounds, which was well below the record high of 7.156 billion pounds posted in 2002.

Demand - U.S. consumption of inedible tallow and greases in 2007 fell -7.6% yr/yr to 2.389 billion pounds, of which virtually all went for animal feed. U.S. consumption of edible tallow in 2005 (latest data available) fell -12.5% yr/yr to 1.449 billion pounds, down from the 2004 record high of 1.656 billion pounds. U.S. per capita consumption of edible tallow in 2005 fell -15.0% to 3.4 pounds per person per year, down from the 2000 and 2004 record high of 4.0 pounds.

Trade - U.S. exports of inedible tallow and grease in 2007 fell -9.4% yr/yr to 299.7 million pounds, and accounted for 4.7% of total U.S. supply. U.S. exports of edible tallow in 2005 (latest data available) rose +13.7% yr/yr to 290 million pounds, and accounted for 16.4% of U.S. supply.

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