Pig prices retreat in USA

By Joanna Levin

AFTER a small price recovery early last week, the US hog and pork complex has again retreated on reports of increased production which is outstripping growth in domestic pork consumption and exports.

The cash market is leading futures prices lower. Terminal prices for cash hogs are struggling at 35-35.5¢/lb. Prices in Iowa are about 2¢ down on late last week at 34.00-35.00¢/lb.

In Chicago, the September lean hogs futures contract closed yesterday (Wednesday) at 43.675¢/lb, a drop of 0.4¢ on the previous day and down from 46¢ on late last week.

Until the slaughter rate picks up, there is little to drive pig prices higher. The weekly slaughter rate is currently at 724,000 head, compared with 723,000 last week and 647,000 at this time last year.

Some analysts forecast that the weekly rate will pick up to about 2 million pigs in September due to seasonal factors and this is likely to support the lean hog market.

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