This week's USDA Cold Storage Report showed evidence that ham values, and consequently hog prices, will continue to deteriorate through year's end. That's the bad new. The good news is that the lower prices could entice foreign buyers to take another look at the U.S. pork supply.
According to the report, September's bone-in and boneless hams socked away in coolers was down only 1 percent from 2007's level, and that was a very high level.
According to livestock analysts Steve Meyer and Len Steiner, authors of CME's Daily Livestock Report, it will be worth watching additional movement into cold storage and heavy fall slaughter runs continue. The more ham that moves into storage, equaling or surpassing last year's high levels, the greater the downward impact on product and ultimately hog prices.
The strengthening U.S. dollars has pushed some foreign buyers out to the market. "At some point, world buyers will again return to the U.S. pork market and current prices are attractive," the analysts says. However, they point out that competition will be stiff due to recent weakness in the value of the Euro and Brazilian Real.
To view the Cold Storage report, click here.