Hog Outlook: Pork Exports Jump, Prices End Higher

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U.S. pork exports during November were up 19.7% from the month before and up 6.7% compared to November 2009. The big growth markets were China, Mexico and Japan, each buying at least 10 million pounds more U.S. pork than 12 months earlier. Pork exports equaled 19.6% of November production. Pork imports were up 0.4% in November.

Thru November, U.S. pork exports were up by 91.7 million pounds (2.5%) and imports were up by 34.4 million pounds (4.5%) compared to the first 11 months of 2009. China, Mexico, Australia and the Philippines each purchased more U.S. pork in January-November 2010 than for all of 2009.

January-November hog imports from Canada were down 10.5% compared to a year earlier with an 11.1% drop in feeder pig imports and a 7.8% drop in slaughter hogs coming south. When the December trade data become available, it appears that 2010 imports of hogs and pigs will total about 5.7 million head, the fewest since 2001.

Hog prices ended this week higher compared to the week before. The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $72.72/cwt, up $1.58 from the previous week. The average carcass price this morning in the eastern corn belt was $71.68/cwt. The western corn belt and Iowa-Minnesota both averaged $74.32/cwt this morning. The top live hog price Friday at Sioux Falls was $49.50/cwt. The top at Zumbrota was $47 and Peoria’s top was $50/cwt. The interior Missouri live top Friday was $49/cwt, the same as the previous Friday.

USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $83.79/cwt, up $5.65 from the previous Thursday. Hams, loins, butts and bellies were all higher. The strength in pork cutout gives room for hog prices to move higher again next week.

The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending January 1 was 206 pounds, up 2 pounds from the previous week and 6 pounds heavier than a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota live weights for barrows and gilts last week averaged 275.8 pounds, up 1.1 pounds from the week before and up 6.8 pounds compared to a year earlier. Since early October, hog carcass weights have averaged 2.2% above the year-earlier weight.

Hog slaughter totaled 2.135 million head this week, down 2.5% from the week before and down 1.8% compared to the same week last year. This was only the second week since mid October with hog slaughter below the year-ago level

The February lean hog futures contract ended the week at $79.52/cwt, up 10 cents from the previous Friday. The April contract ended the week at $85.27/cwt and June hogs settled at $92.97.

March corn futures ended the week at $6.48’6/bushel, up 53 cents from the previous Friday. May corn futures ended the week at $6.58 and December settled at $5.71’2/bushel. March soybean meal closed at $388.10/ton.

By Ron Plain, University of Missouri



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