Pig outlook: Lean hog futures bulls show resilience

Analyst Jim Wyckoff shares an update on the US futures market, USDA reports and global swine news
calendar icon 3 June 2022
clock icon 3 minute read

The pig traders’ perspective: The lean hog futures market on Wednesday posted strong gains to keep the near-term price uptrends on the daily charts alive. Such suggests the path of least resistance for prices will remain sideways to higher in the near term. The CME lean hog index was down 24 cents Wednesday (as of May 31) to $104.91, breaking a nearly two-week string of gains. Strengthening cash hog fundamentals continuing to support prices. Strength in wholesale pork prices has encouraged buyers in futures. Pork cutout values are near a six-week high. Initial wholesale activity following the holiday weekend indicated Memorial Day meat clearance was strong, though traders will watch wholesale pork movement closely to see if demand will be sustained.

Latest US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports, and other news

Meat processing expansion

USDA has announced a $200 million effort to try to help existing meat and poultry facilities. It's an intermediary loan program. It's going to provide grants to co-ops, other nonprofit organizations, public agencies, to create revolving loan funds to assist and help those facilities to remain in business, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack explained. USDA also announced a $25 million effort to try to expand workforce through NIFA programs. “We think this is an opportunity to expand capacity. This goes along with the additional opportunities that we announced, in terms of additional processing capacity. We received 263 applications for the $150 million grants that are available,” he detailed. “It totals about $895 million of interest; 46 states, 111 beef applications, 33 poultry applications, 69 pork applications, 25 lamb, and 14 goat. The projected cost of all these projects, roughly $5 billion. So, there's obviously great interest in this program.” Vilsack also said USDA saw “great interest” in the Climate-smart Agriculture and Forestry Product Partnership Initiative. “We received 450 applications, $18 billion in requests from all 50 states. A diverse pool of applicants, nonprofits, cooperatives, for-profit organizations, government entities, commodity groups, forest groups, tribes, universities, small and large corporations. A wide range of commodities involved. This is the first of two application deadlines. June 10th is our small application deadline, about $8 billion of additional leverage.”

McDonald's investors reject pig proxy

McDonald's shareholders roundly rejected activist investor Carl Icahn's effort to elect two board members to the fast-food chain's board. All 12 McDonald's nominees were elected to the board, while Icahn's two nominees received about 1% of the votes, according to preliminary results released by the company. Icahn had accused the fast-food giant's suppliers of mistreating pigs in an "egregious" fashion by continuing to use "gestation stalls" despite committing to end their use by now. McDonald's has acknowledged "challenges" but said "we remain committed to phasing out the use of gestation stalls for housing pregnant sows in the U.S. by the end of 2024."

The next week’s likely high-low price trading ranges:

July lean hog futures--$106.65 to $116.00, and with a sideways-higher bias

July soybean meal futures--$400.00 to $425.00, and with a sideways-lower bias

July corn futures--$7.00 to $7.60 and a sideways-lower bias

Latest analytical daily charts lean hog, soybean meal and corn futures

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