Lean hog futures rose Friday after the August contract expired at a record-high price.
August hogs capped their trading up 0.25 cents, or 0.2%, to $1.0745 a pound after soaring in recent weeks as China vowed to boost its pork supply and a Midwestern heat wave tightened supplies. The settling price for August is an all-time record for lean hog futures.
The two USDA reports from Thursday continued to support prices, even as some traders said the reports--which forecast a worse-than-expected corn crop leading to smaller animal production, along with tighter export markets for U.S. pork and beef--are more closely watched than they once were, due mostly to the growing role of exports in U.S. meat sales.
A report of USDA data from Friday showed sales to China up 81% from last year. China has vowed to control food prices, which have spiralled upward in the last year and threaten social unrest among urban populations.
Stock markets were mostly calm Friday, after four days of wild swings in prices, which also supported hogs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was recently up 108 points to 11251.
Cash hog prices were reported steady to weaker on expectations for supplies to gradually increase through late summer and into the fall.
Average hog weights typically increase as well with the arrival of cooler temperatures as the animals are more comfortable and eat more feed. Faster weight gains result in the hogs reaching the preferred slaughter size sooner, adding to the supplies available to processors.
The terminal markets traded steady to as much as $2 per hundredweight lower on a live basis with top prices from $70 to $73.
The USDA's pork carcass composite value, a measure of wholesale prices, on Thursday fell 72 cents to $109.43 a hundred pounds following. A record high was hit Monday at $110.19 a hundred pounds.