Hog Outlook: US Pork Exports Down, Imports Up

US - Pork exports have been in gradual decline for a long time now, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown from the University of Missouri.
calendar icon 7 September 2015
clock icon 4 minute read

US pork exports peaked in 2012 at four times the level of 2000. Since then there has been a slow decline.

Pork exports have been below the year-ago level for 11 of last 13 months. Pork exports totaled 395 million pounds during July, down 0.5 per cent compared to a year ago.

During the first seven months of 2015 pork exports were down 4.3 per cent with the biggest decline being shipments to China, Russia and Japan. In a positive sign, pork exports to China during July were the most for any month since March 2014.

US pork imports totalled 85 million pounds during July. That was up 7.5 per cent compared to a year ago. Pork imports have been above the year-ago level for 26 of the last 28 months. Through July, 2015 pork imports are up 18.1 per cent with most of the increase coming from Canada.

Pork exports equalled 20 per cent of US production in July. Pork imports equaled 4.3 per cent of production.

More people with more money to spend are good for meat demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the economy added 173,000 jobs in August. That was 45,000 below the average of trade forecasts.

For the 16 weeks beginning on April 20, hog slaughter averaged 2.089 million head. Except for holiday weeks, hog slaughter is likely to stay above 2.2 million for the rest of 2015.

This week's hog slaughter totaled 2.171 million head, down 2.7 per cent from last week, but up 22.1 per cent from the same week last year, which began with Labor Day.

The national negotiated barrow and gilt price on the morning report today was $67.74/cwt, down $3.31 from last Friday morning. Both the western corn belt and Iowa-Minnesota averaged $67.77/cwt this morning, with the western corn belt down $2.57 for the week. There was no negotiated price quote this morning for the eastern corn belt.

Peoria had a top live price today of $45/cwt, down $2 from last Friday. The top price today for interior Missouri live hogs was $46.75/cwt, down $3.75 from the previous Friday.

This morning's pork cutout value was $85.00/cwt FOB the plants. That is down 27 cents from the week before. Packer margins continue to be very good. This morning's national negotiated hog price was only 79.7 per cent of the cutout value.

The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 277.0 pounds, down 0.2 pound from a week earlier and down 3.6 pounds from a year ago. This was the 23rd consecutive week with weights lighter than last year.

The October lean hog futures contract settled today at $69.15/cwt, up $2.725 for the week. December hog futures ended the week at $63.35/cwt, up $1.30 from the week before. February hogs gained $1.625 this week to close at $67.80/cwt.

Corn futures lost 13 cents this week with the September contract closing at $3.495/bushel.

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