February hogs rose to the highest price level since October 25th during Friday's abbreviated session but could not hold early strength and fell back from the early highs by the close. News of higher pork cut-out values from Wednesday afternoon helped to provide some underlying support. The sharp break in the US dollar and a surge higher in the China and US equity markets are widely seen as positive forces for the hog market. The fact that pork cut-out values are higher than one week ago during a period of high slaughter levels and negative outside market forces has also been seen as positive factor for the market. If China remains as a strong importer of US pork, many traders feel that hog prices will remain well supported. The CME Lean Hog Index as of November 22nd came in at 83.51, up 22 cents from the previous session but down from 84.92 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 420,000 head Friday and 362,000 head for Saturday. This brought the total for last week to 2.074 million head, down from 2.360 million head the previous week but up from 2.061 million head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close Friday came in at $89.77, up 38 cents from Wednesday and up from $88.43 the previous week. Actual US pork production for the week ending November 12th came in at 480.2 million pounds, down from 487 million pounds the previous week and down 0.12% from a year ago.
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