Hog Outlook: US Pork Exports Leap in March

US - Despite record prices, US pork exports were up a huge 21.7 per cent in March compared to a year ago thanks to increased shipments to China, Mexico, South Korea, Colombia, Philippines and Australia, according to Ron Plain and Scott Brown.
calendar icon 12 May 2014
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Imports of pork were up 11.5 per cent in March due to more pork coming in from Canada, Denmark and Poland. During March, pork exports equaled 26.1 per cent of production and imports equaled 4.3 per cent of production. During the first quarter of 2014, US pork exports were up 10.4 per cent and pork imports were up 2.4 per cent. Feeder pig imports were down 0.8 per cent in March. Imports of other hogs were down 4.3 per cent.

The May WASDE lowered USDA's forecast of 2014 pork production by 105 million pounds. They now predict 2014 pork production will be down 2.3 per cent from last year to the lowest level since 2010. USDA's forecast for live hog prices in 2014 is for an average somewhere between $76/cwt and $80/cwt which is well above the 2011 record of $66.12/cwt. They are predicting 2.9 per cent more pork in 2015 than this year.

Domestic meat demand in March was up 3.2 per cent compared to a year earlier with pork demand up 0.9 per cent compared to a year ago. March was the 15th consecutive month in which domestic pork demand was above the year-ago level. Export demand for US pork was up an astounding 65.2 per cent in March.

This week's USDA Crop Progress report says that 29 per cent of corn acres were planted by May 4. That was 18 points ahead of last year, but 13 points below the 5 year average.

Cash hog prices this week were lower for the fifth consecutive week. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $107.11/cwt, down $2.08 from last Friday, but up $17.85 from a year ago. There was no eastern corn belt or Iowa-Minnesota reported price this morning. The western corn belt averaged $108.24/cwt this morning. Peoria had a top live price today of $75/cwt. Zumbrota, MN topped at $76. The top price Friday for interior Missouri live hogs was $74.25/cwt which was down $2.25 from the previous Friday.

Friday morning's pork cutout value was $112.35/cwt FOB the plants, down $1.77 from the week before, but up $22.00 from a year ago. This morning's hog carcass price averaged 95.3 per cent of the cutout value.

Hog slaughter this week totaled 2.016 million head, down 0.1 per cent from the week before and down 3.3 per cent compared to the same week last year. After setting record highs for six consecutive weeks, Iowa-Minnesota slaughter weights were down last week. The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week, 287.0 pounds, was down 0.5 pounds from a week earlier, but up 10.2 pounds from a year ago.

The May lean hog futures contract closed at $114.67/cwt, down $2.55 for the week. June hog futures ended the week at $120.17/cwt, down $2.05 from the week before. July hogs gained $2.58 this week to close at $124.55/cwt. The August contract ended the week at $122.50/cwt. October closed at $104.15/cwt.

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