One result of strong pork exports can be a lower level of pork products available for domestic consumption, and higher commensurate retail pork prices reports the USDA in its latest Livestock, Dairy and Poultry report. This scenario appears to describe what is happening currently on the domestic pork market.

Third-quarter domestic pork availability, measured on a per capita basis at 11 pounds, was more than 6 percent below the same period last year. Fourth-quarter availability is expected to fall by more than 3 percent below a year ago, to 12.4 pounds per capita. With foreign demand bidding U.S. pork away from domestic markets, lower availability of pork for domestic consumers likely explains the string of record-high retail prices that continued into September. September retail pork prices averaged $3.56 per pound, almost 8 percent higher than in September 2010. Retail pork prices should continue to average in the low-to-mid $3.50s in the fourth quarter.