April hogs moved from higher to lower during yesterday's session. Cash hogs were $0.50 to $1.00 higher on smaller marketings, but many traders see the large premium of futures to the cash market as a limiting factor for hog futures. Higher than normal average weights along with ideas that the major winter storm could cause hogs to back-up in the country were widely seen as pressuring the market. On top of the large snowfall, producers will not want to move hogs in the Midwest for the next few days due to bitter cold weather and wind which makes transportation more dangerous. In addition, some traders also project slower demand due to the storm as a negative influence on prices. Iowa/Minnesota average hog weights this week came in at 273.2 pounds, which was down from 274.3 pounds the previous week but up from 268.4 pounds last year. With weights already much higher than normal, many traders feel that it may not take long to see a back-up of hogs in the country. The CME Lean Hog Index as of January 31 came in at 80.00, up 88 cents from the previous session and up from 76.72 the week before. The 1140 point premium of April to cash compares with the 5-year average premium near 500 points for this time of the year. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 290,000 head yesterday, down from 382,000 head the previous day. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.031 million head, down from 1.268 million head last week at this time and down from 1.256 million head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $88.56, down 39 cents from Tuesday but up from $87.48 the previous week.
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