Hog Outlook: May pork exports up on increases to Mexico, Korea

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The national negotiated purchase base price for barrows and gilts set new all-time high records on the first three days this week reaching a peak of $130.90/cwt on Wednesday.

The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $128.94/cwt which is up $2.03 from last week, up $33.43 from a year ago, but $1.96 below the record high set on Wednesday. The eastern corn belt averaged $129.01 this morning. There were no morning price quotes today for Iowa-Minnesota or for the western corn belt. Peoria had a top live price today of $88/cwt. The top price for interior Missouri live hogs was $91.25/cwt which was $1.50 higher than the previous week.

The pork cutout value set new daily record highs on Monday and Wednesday of this week. This morning's pork cutout value was $134.67/cwt FOB the plants, up 93 cents from the week before and up $31.67 from a year ago. It was down 71 cents from Wednesday's record high of $135.38/cwt.

Today's USDA WASDE report reduced the forecast of 2014 pork production by 60 million pounds and cut their estimate for 2015 pork by 70 million pounds. This led USDA to increase the midpoint estimate of 2014 live barrow and gilt prices to $80/cwt from $78/cwt in their June estimate. USDA increased their forecast for 2015 barrows and gilt prices by $5/cwt to a range of $75 to $81/cwt. These changes reflect the industry's inability to gain control of the PED virus.

Pork exports during May were up 0.1%. Big increases in exports went to Mexico and South Korea. China and Hong Kong purchased less U.S. pork than in May 2013. Pork exports equaled 23.2% of May's production. U.S. pork imports were up 15% in May. The increase in imports came from Poland and Denmark. Imports equaled 4.5% of production. Through May, 2014 pork exports were up 8.1% and imports were up 7.3% compared to the first five months of 2013. That is a very strong performance given this year's reduced pork production and record prices. During May, imports of weaner/feeder pigs from Canada were down 16.3% and imports of other hogs were down 7.6%.

Hog slaughter totaled 1.859 million head this week. That was up 14.3% from the holiday shortened week before, but down 9.0% from the same week last year. The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 284.2 pounds. That was down 0.8 pounds from the week before, but 11.3 pounds heavier than a year ago. It was the 8th consecutive week with weights at least 10 pounds heavier than a year ago.

Hog futures were mixed this week. The July hog futures contract ended the week at $132.80/cwt, up $1.08 from the previous Friday. August hogs lost $2.93 this week to close at $128.67/cwt.

The October contract ended the week at $113.80/cwt down $2.95 for the week. The December contract settled at $104.35/cwt which was $1.50 higher than last Friday.



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