Global Consumption Key to Improved Live Hog Prices

CANADA - A US-based agricultural economist says global pork consumption will play a key role in influencing live hog prices over the next few months, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 12 April 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Live hog prices have improved substantially over the past few weeks and the majority of North American pork producers are now in a break even or profit position.

University of Missouri agricultural economics professor Dr Ron Plain credits much of the improvement to North American breeding herd reductions over the past two to two and a half years and he expects continued tight supplies of market ready hogs seasonally during late spring and into summer.

Dr Ron Plain-University of Missouri

Cold storage stocks for red meats are looking fairly good.

US data on that indicates we're down from year ago levels.

Our expectation is that with the most likely scenario being fewer hogs slaughtered in both the U.S. Canada this year we will continue to see those cold storage stocks remain tight and that will be good news for hog prices.

Consumption and domestic demand both in Canada and the United Sates is crucial.

It's where most of the pork ends up getting eaten.

Unfortunately for the entire meat industry the world economy and the US economy hasn't been doing particularly well recently.

We are struggling with a very long recession here in the States.

I think things economically look a little bit better as far as economic growth in Canada but it's crucial that we generate some growth and pull down our very high unemployment levels if we're going to be able to see meat prices continue to move higher.

Dr Plain says pork exports will continue to be an important factor in determining live hog prices.

He says the pork industry did tremendously well in the 1990s and early part of this century and despite a decline in US exports last year, exports are expected to increase this year.

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