Record High for 2002 Pork Exports

US Weekly Hog Outlook, 21st February 2003 - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glen Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 22 February 2003
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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

U.S. pork exports in 2002 were record high for the 11th consecutive year. In total, we exported 1.614 billion pounds of pork last year, 3.5% more pork than in 2001. Our top three foreign customers (Japan, Mexico and Canada) accounted for 79% of these exports. Japan, purchased 4.6% more pork than in 2001 and 48% of all our 2002 pork exports. Shipments to Mexico were down 1.5% but our third biggest customer, Canada, purchased 1.8% more U.S. pork than in 2001. Pork exports to Russia were down 49.7% and shipments to South Korea were up 83.1%.

U.S. pork imports last year were the highest since 1988. We imported 1.07 billion pounds of pork in 2002, 12.6% more than the year before. Canada supplied 82% of our pork imports and 11.5% came from Denmark.

Pork imports in 2002 equaled 5.45% of U.S. pork production. Exports were equal to a record 8.21% of U.S. pork production.

Live hog prices at the terminals ended the week 25 cents to a $1 lower than the previous Friday. Plant delivered prices were off a dollar in the west and two dollars in the east. Sioux Falls topped out at $33.50/cwt on Friday. Peoria and St Paul reported practical tops Friday of $33/cwt. The interior Missouri market had a $31.75 top on Friday. The National weighted average carcass price Friday morning for negotiated hogs with 0.9-1.1" backfat, 6 sq. in. loins 2" deep was $44.47/cwt, $1.64 lower than last Friday. Regional prices on Friday morning were: eastern corn belt $43.77, western corn belt and Iowa-Minnesota both $45.04/cwt.

Except for bellies, which held steady at 80 cents for the 12-14 pound cut, pork product values were lower this week. At mid-day on Friday, 1/4-inch trim loins weighing less than 21 pounds were trading at 96.83 cents per pound, down 3.744 for the week. Boston butts dropped 4 cents for the week to 54 cents per pound at midday on Friday. Ham prices were a penny lower at 45 cents per pound for 17-20# hams.

Federally inspected hog slaughter for this week is 1.879 million head, up 1.6% from the same week last year. For the first 6 weeks ending in 2003, total hog slaughter was up 2.4% compared to a year ago. Sow slaughter during this period was up 4.7%; but as a percent of the sow inventory, sow slaughter was up 8.2%. All indications are the breeding herd is continuing to shrink.

The nearby hog futures contracts gained a dollar or so this week. The April lean hog contract ended the week at $53.92/cwt, equivalent to a live price of $39.90/cwt. The June contracted ended the week at $61.92, and August ended at $58.72.

There was 1.8% more pork in cold storage on January 31 than a year ago. The stocks of frozen pork bellies are the lowest in memory for this time of year. This news produced a rally in pork belly futures. All the contracts ended the week more than a dollar higher than at the start.

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