April hogs and June hogs traded sharply higher on the session early on light volume. Larger weights with ample short-term supplies were seen as limiting the market's strength. Some traders indicated that cash markets in Iowa/Minnesota were up $1.58, which was thought to have encouraged some early buying. Ideas that the Mexico/US trade dispute could be settled soon, which would result in increase exports to Mexico, were thought to have supported the solid gains into the close. The hope that Mexican import levels would improve if the current trucking dispute with Mexico is resolved was seen as supporting the turnaround yesterday. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $90.39, down $1.16 from Wednesday and down from $91.67 the previous week. This is the lowest pork value since February 17th and some traders remain nervous that South Korea imports have slowed after their aggressive purchases during January and February. The CME Lean Hog Index as of March 1st came in at 84.23, down 2 cents from the previous session but up from 83.00 the week before. This leaves April hogs near a 400 point premium to the cash market. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 421,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.683 million head, up from 1.650 million head last week at this time but down from 1.712 million head a year ago. Actual US pork production for the week ending February 19 came in at 435.5 million pounds, down from 447.4 the previous week and down 0.34% from a year ago.
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