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US Hog Prices Continue Strong; Defy Record Large Pork Output

by 5m Editor
3 August 2004, at 12:00am

US - The U.S. cash hog markets this week remained strong, gaining modestly from last week's closing levels, and extended the profitable run for producers despite being on a record setting production pace.

For the week, the terminal markets ranged from steady to $1.50 per hundredweight higher. While the weekly advance was not a significant amount, top prices paid on Friday were from $54.00 to $57.50 on a live basis, approximately 55% above a year ago.

The direct market dressed prices have shown similar reliance this week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's national weighted average sales price Friday afternoon was at $77.43, up $20.28 or 35% from the year-ago quote of $57.15.

Chuck Levitt, senior livestock analyst with Alaron Trading Corp., said strong beef prices throughout the year so far have contributed to the improved demand for pork.

The industry has been able to keep moving record pork production at prices well above those of a year ago. The USDA's composite carcass value, or pork cutout, on Friday was quoted at $80.14, up $19.93, or 33%, from a year ago.

Market analysts and other sources said a combination of strong domestic demand for meats and export sales, that have grown in part due to import bans on U.S. beef that were imposed by most of the nation's trading partners in late December, have been key factors in the higher hog and pork markets this year.

Seasonally increased hog supplies are expected to begin showing up by around the second half of August and to continue to grow throughout the fall and early winter months. Chicago Mercantile Exchange Lean hog futures markets have the normal fall supply increases already built in, with the Aug contract carrying a premium of about $8.50 over Oct and $13.00 over Dec.

THIS WEEK'S ESTIMATED SLAUGHTERS, COMBINED MEAT PRODUCTION

This week's cattle slaughter was estimated at 634,000 head, compared with 641,000 a week ago and 712,000 a year ago. Year-to-date cattle slaughter is estimated at 18.888 million head, down 9.8% from a year ago.

Hog slaughter this week was estimated at 1.896 million, versus 1.892 million last week and 1.812 million last year. Year-to-date hog slaughter stands at 57.778 million, up 2.7% from a year ago.

This week's combined meat production - for beef and veal, pork and lamb/mutton - was estimated at 855.1 million pounds, versus 859.2 million last week and 889.2 million a year-ago.

Broiler slaughter this week was estimated at 158.383 million head, compared with 161.269 million a week ago and 159.246 million a year ago.

Source: eFeedLink - 3rd August 2004

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