The European debt crisis roiling world financial markets may also hit the hog market, just as the pork industry financials are improving, reports

In addition, a stronger dollar has dimmed prospects for meat exports, according to Purdue University Extension Economist Chris Hurt.

"Last year demonstrated just how critical a recessionary economy was in weakening pork demand, Hurt wrote in a report. "A more cautious world now likely means some moderation in pork prices from recent lofty levels, but prices are not going to fold either."

Another concern is the inevitability of rising retail prices which have the ability to make consumers look past pork to more budget-oriented selections..

 "You can bet that retail prices will soar in coming months," Hurt warned, predicting average retail pork prices will be close to $3.10 per pound this summer compared to $2.92 in April.

Hurt predicted live hog prices will average near $60 per live hundredweight in the second quarter, then drop into the $56 to $60 range in the third quarter. Hurt predicts a 2010 price average of $54.

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