US - Pork prices are well down compared to last year, and exports are also down due to a decline in shipments to China, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown from the University of Missouri.
Wholesale belly prices are $65.45/cwt today, which is less than one-third of what they were a year ago.
This morning's pork cutout value was $65.72/cwt FOB the plants. That is down 42 cents from the week before and down $59.40 from a year ago.
Wholesale belly prices are lower than the pork cutout. That means bellies are a below-average-value pork cut.
USDA's April WASDE predicted 2015 pork production will be a record 24.24 billion pounds which is up 6.1 per cent compared to last year. They expect barrow and gilt prices to average somewhere around $50/cwt live or $67/cwt on a carcass basis.
US pork exports were down 10.1 per cent in February with most of the decline in shipments to China. Pork exports equaled 19.4 per cent of February US production.
The labour dispute at west coast ports ended in late February. Hopefully, pork exports will increase as we move forward.
Pork imports were up 32.2 per cent during February with most of the increase coming from Canada and Poland. Pork imports equalled 4.3 per cent of U.S. production during February.
Live hog imports were up 8.7 per cent in February with a 2.7 per cent increase in weaner/feeder pig imports and a 42.8% increase in imports of other hogs.
Domestic pork demand was up 11.6 per cent in February compared to a year earlier. Export demand was down 20.6 per cent.
Hog prices are less than half of what they were at this time last year. Thursday's negotiated carcass price for plant delivered hogs averaged $58.04/cwt which is 95 cents higher than a week earlier, but a huge $61.26 lower than a year ago.
The national average negotiated barrow and gilt carcass price on morning sales today was $58.74/cwt, up $3.39 from last Friday. This morning's price is 88.3% of the pork cutout value.
The western corn belt averaged $60.66/cwt this morning. Because of low sales volume and confidentiality rules, there were no eastern corn belt or Iowa-Minnesota negotiated hog carcass price reports this morning.
Peoria had a top live price today of $38/cwt, $3 higher than last Friday. The top price today for interior Missouri live hogs was $40/cwt, the same as the previous Friday.
Hog slaughter in the week 6-10 April totalled 2.188 million head, down 0.3 per cent from the week before, but up 8.6 per cent from same week last year. Slaughter has been above year-ago each week since mid January.
The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 283.5 pounds, up 0.1 pound from the week before, but down 2.0 pounds from a year ago. This was the second week with Iowa slaughter weights below the year-ago level following 103 consecutive weeks with weights above the year earlier level.
The April lean hog futures contract closed today at $62.55/cwt, down 62 cents for the week. May hog futures ended the week at $71.77/cwt, up $3.42 from the week before.
June hogs gained $2.45 this week to close at $78.15/cwt. The July contract settled at $79.35/cwt.
TheMeatSite News Desk