The hog market found strength during Wednesday's session from carryover strength in cattle, a weaker US dollar and a positive outlook from outside markets. A setback in grain markets along with weakness in the cash market were thought to have pressured December hogs into the mid-session, as the market found further weakness and ultimately finish with a 3-session low close. Expectations for the highest weekly slaughter levels of the year this week were seen as pressuring the market later in the day. Packer margins are still positive, which helped to provide some underlying support but further weakness in the pork product market late yesterday could dampen packer demand going into next week. Continued pressure on pork product values during the past week could make it difficult to hold onto this strength as a consumer shift towards poultry for later this month, rising pork supply as well as increased demand concerns and fears of slowing export demand are all seen as negative factors for the market. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $94.57, down $1.18 from Tuesday and down from $96.54 the previous week. Weakness in ribs and bellies were thought to have driven product prices lower. The CME Lean Hog Index as of October 31st came in at 90.75, down 37 cents from the previous session and down from 94.00 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 430,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.282 million head, down from 1.290 million head last week at this time but up from 1.277 million head a year ago. Weekly average weights for Iowa-Southern Minnesota as of October 29th came in at 273.5 pounds, up from 273.3 the previous week and down from 276 pounds last year.
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