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Retail pork prices in January up 0.5%

by 5m Editor
28 February 2004, at 12:00am

US Weekly Hog Outlook, 27th February 2004 - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glen Grimes and Ron Plain.

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Demand for pork continues quite strong at both the consumer level and live hog level. For the fourth quarter of 2003 consumer demand was up 3.7% and live hog demand was up 9.2% from a year earlier.

The wild card on pork demand is the flu in chicken flocks found on the East Coast and this week in Texas. If this disease disrupts broiler exports for very long it could be negative to pork demand.

Pork exports to Japan in December were down nearly 15% from a year earlier. However, our exports to Canada were up over 25% and to Mexico over 55%, which gave us a total increase in December exports of 8% compared to a year earlier.

Retail pork prices in January were up about 0.5% from December of 2003. The January 2004 price was up 4.3% from a year earlier.

The producers gained the most from the higher retail prices this year in January than in 2003. Live hog prices were up 13.5%, the processor-retailer margins were up 1.1%, but the packers' margin was down 3.9% in January from 12 months earlier.

The strong demand of the fourth quarter continues to be with us. Pork production in January on a daily basis was up about 5%. The conditions in the fourth quarter and January do not happen very often --- about a 5% increase in supply and a 15 - plus or - minus percent increase in live hog prices.

A substantial portion of this demand growth is due to the recent high beef prices.

Pork product prices this week were mixed. Loins with a ¼" trim at $106.00 per cwt this Friday were down $4.75 per cwt, Boston butts with a ¼" trim were up $6.09 per cwt at $76.00 per cwt, hams were $56.25 compared to $56.00 last Friday and 14-16# bellies at $100.00 per cwt were up $5.00 for the 7 days.

Live hog prices were the same to down some this Friday compared to a week earlier. Prices at the markets reported Friday morning were steady to $1 higher from a week earlier. These top live prices were: Peoria $40.00 per cwt, St. Paul $42.00 per cwt, Sioux Falls $44.00 per cwt and interior Missouri $43.00 per cwt.

The average weighted prices for 185# carcasses with 0.9-1.1 inch-back fat 6 square-inch loin 2 inches deep were down $0.80 to $1.49 per cwt from a week earlier on Friday morning.

These prices by reporting area were: western Cornbelt $59.15 per cwt, eastern Cornbelt $60.02 per cwt, Iowa-Minnesota $59.57 per cwt and nation $59.62 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection at 1960 thousand head was up 1.8% from a year earlier and up 3.4% from a week earlier, which was reduced some by the Presidents Day holiday.

Cold storage stocks of pork on January 31 were down 0.4% from a year earlier, belly stocks were up sharply this year at the end of January compared to a year earlier but were very low a year earlier.

5m Editor