April hogs closed 237 higher on the session yesterday, and just 44 points below the highs for the day. June hogs closed at 100.95, which was the highest close ever for any hog futures contract. February hogs drove sharply higher early in the session with a new contract high, as strong cash markets and continued strength in pork cut-out values were felt to have supported. Blizzard conditions are expected for parts of the Midwest during the next few days, and many traders see slower marketings as well as a continued surge higher in pork values as positive forces. The lower US dollar added to the positive tone yesterday, as export level have picked up significantly during the past few weeks due mainly to a surge in buying from South Korea. The South Korea finance ministry indicated overnight that the volume of tariff-free pork imports may be expanded if prices continue to drive higher, as pork prices moved up to a record high in January after South Korea culled 24% of their herd in an attempt to fight foot-and-mouth disease. The CME Lean Hog Index as of January 27th came in at 78.32, up 63 cents from the previous session and up from 76.14 the week before. This leaves April hogs at a premium of near 1,570 points as compared with the 5-year average premium near 500 points during this time of the year. Cash hogs were $1.00-$2.00 higher yesterday. June futures closed at 100.95, with some traders remembering that July of 2008 was the last time any hog contract closed above 100.00. Bitter cold and heavy snow is expected to limit marketings for the next several days ahead. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 383,000 head yesterday. This was down from 420,000 head last week and down from 413,000 head a year ago as this time. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday, came in at $88.61, up 4 cents from Friday and up from $86.23 the previous week. This is the highest since September 30th.