Summer Pork Prices Slow Exports, Boost Imports

US - The average retail price of pork during October was a record $3.363 per pound, up 6.3 cents from the month before and 48.3 cents higher than in October 2009, writes Ron Plain.
calendar icon 22 November 2010
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October’s price was the sixth consecutive record high. Having record retail prices is good, unless you need to move a lot of product. Reduced pork production this summer led to the record retail prices. This fall increased slaughter and heavier weights have brought a big increase in pork production. Over the last four weeks, daily pork production has averaged 21 per cent greater than during late July and early August.

High wholesale pork prices this summer slowed pork exports and boosted imports. US pork exports during September were down 7.8 per cent compared to 12 months earlier while pork imports were up 12.4 per cent. Thru September, pork imports are up 4.8 per cent and exports are up 3.4 per cent with the biggest tonnage increase being to Mexico. The fast growing supply of lower cost pork this fall should help exports in coming months.

The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending 6 November was 205 pounds, the same as the week before, 4 pounds heavier than a year ago, and for the second week in a row, the heaviest ever for this data series. Iowa-Minnesota live weights for barrows and gilts last week averaged 275.4 pounds, up 5 pounds compared to a year earlier, but down 0.5 pound compared to the week before.

Hog slaughter totaled 2.326 million head this week, up 0.6 per cent from the week before and up 0.2 per cent compared to the same week last year. Pork production is down 3.6 per cent for the year, but it has been above year-ago for each of the last six weeks.

USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $76.60/cwt, up 43 cents from the previous Thursday. Hams were lower this week while loins, butts, bellies were higher.

Hog prices ended the week lower than the week before. The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $58.67/cwt, down $3.16/cwt from the previous Friday. Regional average prices on Friday morning were: eastern corn belt $58.66, western corn belt $58.83 and Iowa-Minnesota $58.48/cwt. The top live hog price Friday at Sioux Falls was $45/cwt. The top at Zumbrota was $42 and Peoria’s top was $41/cwt. The interior Missouri live top Friday was $43/cwt, unchanged from last Friday.

The December lean hog futures contract ended the week at $69.12/cwt, up 16 cents from the previous Friday. The February contract ended the week at $76.85/cwt and April settled at $80.80.

December corn futures ended the week at $5.2075/bushel, down 13 cents from the previous Friday. March corn ended the week at $5.3475 and July corn settled at $5.4575/bushel.

The December soybean meal contract ended the week at $325.80/ton, down $13.90 for the week.

This report will not be published next week because of Thanksgiving. Have a happy holiday.

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