By Joanna Newman

US pig futures prices continue to fall further this week, depressed by weakness in the cash market.

The price paid for slaughter eased from 27¢/lb last week to 24¢/lb (32p/kg) at present. Meanwhile the Chicago Mercantile Exchange December lean pigs futures contract lost 1.5¢ on the week to close on Tuesday, 27 October at 39.85¢/lb (52.5p/kg).

Although domestic prices are under pressure, the Russian aid story is still attracting much attention. Now that Russia has formally requested food aid, pig producers are hoping that the US Department of Agriculture will send more pork and less grain to Russia, thereby helping to alleviate domestic oversupply.

The US pork market is already oversupplied and there is more to hit the market in 1999 if producers go ahead with their expansion plans. During September, pork production reached a record high of 1.6 billion lbs, up 7% from a year ago. The slaughter rate also rose 7% to 8.59 million head, according to the latest monthly report from USDA.

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