Lean hog futures closed mostly higher after rallying from mixed trading throughout much of the day. August through April 2012 hit new all-time highs, aided by the further gains in corn prices and expectations that some producers may further trim their breeding herds if corn prices continue to be strong.
April lean hogs edged weaker, the only contract to do so, closing off 0.02 cent at 94.20 cents a pound. June, the most-active contract, gained 0.27 cent, or 0.3% to $1.0385.
The market is expecting a higher trend in cash hog prices and wholesale pork prices, supporting hog futures, said Dennis Smith, analyst with Archer Financial Services.
The export markets continue to provide support for futures as well, said Steve Wagner, an analyst with Country Hedging. The export corridor is definitely where the strength is, he said.
In the cash markets, pork processors were bidding unchanged to higher for additional loads to arrive this week. Supplies of slaughter-ready animals have tightened in recent weeks as the peak in the numbers of pigs born last fall has already been marketed. In addition, pork exports remain strong, and demand for grilling cuts is expected to improve through spring into early summer.
Although wholesale pork prices fell $1.27 a hundred pounds on Friday to $94.12, the recent trend has been higher. For the week, pork prices were up slightly. The pork carcass composite value is approaching the all-time high of $96.74 hit on Aug. 24.