US Direct Hog Market Prices Surge Surprising 6%-9%

by 5m Editor
20 September 2004, at 12:00am

US - It is not all that unusual for hog prices to rally a bit during the full week following the Labor Day holiday, but this week's gains of 6% to 9% in the corn belt were surprisingly strong since they started from an already higher level historically.

Extraordinary demand at the packer level for hogs and continued good movement of pork domestically and via export sales appear to be driving the hog-price advances.

In three of the last five years, hog prices rallied from the previous week during the full week after the Labor Day holiday.

Market analysts and industry sources said there is generally strong demand for hogs during that week, a period in which packer margins normally have widened as supplies increase into the fall. There is usually good demand from retailers for the pork since wholesale prices have come off the summer highs and are more attractive. Another factor at least for some areas of the country is the arrival of cooler temperatures, which normally improves consumption of meats.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's daily hog price reports this week showed the direct markets gaining from 6.2% in the western corn belt to 9.1% in the western half. The terminal markets, which are based on live weights, advanced 5% to 10%.

The USDA's weighted average dressed prices Friday afternoon for Iowa/southern Minnesota, the largest hog producing area of the country, was reported at $76.93 per hundredweight, the highest since Aug. 10.

This week’s estimated slaughters, combined meat production

This week's cattle slaughter was estimated at 638,000 head, compared with 541,000 a week ago and 733,000 a year ago. Year-to-date cattle slaughter is estimated at 23.226 million head, down 10.6% from a year ago.

Federally inspected hog slaughter for the week was estimated at 2.093 million head, compared with 1.855 million a week ago and 1.966 million a year ago. Year-to-date hog slaughter stands at 71.581 million, up 3.0%.

This week's combined meat production - for beef and veal, pork and lamb/mutton - was estimated at 907.0 million pounds, versus 784.0 million last week and 936.0 million a year ago. Combined meat output for the year is down 4.5% from a year ago.

Broiler slaughter this week was estimated at 153.748 million head, compared with 149.574 million a week ago and 156.044 million a year ago.

Source: eFeedLink - 20th September 2004

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