The rally in hog prices has cooled somewhat in recent days primarily because the strength of the U.S. dollar against the Euro currency puts a shadow over hog exports, says a Des Moines Register blog posting.
The U.S. export market has improved this year now that the H1N1 virus scare has passed and nations like China and Mexico again are accepting U.S. hogs. Through April all pork exports were up 7 percent from a year ago and ham exports were up 24 percent.
Those figures, along with reduced herds in the U.S. and Canada, have played a major role in lifting hog prices almost 30 percent during the first quarter and give pork producers a shot at their first profitable year since 2007.
But hog prices have dipped from May 1, from their 2010 high of $87 per hundredweight carcass on May 1 to $82 per hundredweight last week. Analysts note that Europe is the second largest exporter of hogs behind the U.S., and the decline of the Euro will make European pork products cheaper in international markets.
In the U.S. wholesale hog prices dropped 5.6 percent in the last week, according to the USDA weekly summary.
Source: Des Moines Register