Exports Key to Marketing Increased Pork Volumes from Record U.S. Slaughter

CANADA - Rabobank International suggests the export market will be key to moving the increased volumes of pork resulting from record U.S. slaughter numbers, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 19 October 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Last week the lean hog price was down a little over 10 percent, pressured by record U.S. slaughter numbers and increased volumes of meat in storage.

Rabobank International Executive Director, Food & Agribusiness Research Fiona Boal suggests it's pretty safe to say that, unless we see a big pickup in export demand for the remainder of this year, prices will be below last year.

Fiona Boal-Rabobank International

We've seen some quite spectacular slaughter levels over the last couple of weeks.

Last week set a new weekly record at a little under 2.35 million head and the week before had been a record as well.

It's a little confusing.

There are a few trains of thought on what's happening out there.

I think it's pretty safe to say that we've seen much better performance in terms of the vaccines for circovirus and those increased numbers are starting to come through.

We've also seen an increase in the hog imports from Canada.

I think and most of the pork economists in the U.S. that follow this much more closely than I do seem to agree that we'll see some pretty big numbers over the next couple of weeks.

What we saw with the latest U.S.D.A. inventory reports was a little confusing and a lot of people are saying that they think they've underestimated the availability of market hogs.

At the moment slaughter is running around three percent over last year and I think it would be reasonable to assume that, by the end of the year, running three-three and a half percent up for the year should be where we get to.

Boal predicts key export markets will include Mexico and China as well as the traditionally high valued markets like Japan and South Korea.

She notes, because of the high value of the Canadian dollar, U.S. exporters will continue to enjoy an advantage over their Canadian counterparts.

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