April hogs closed 57 higher on the session Friday, which left the market up 32 points for the week after the market recovered from the lowest prices levels since January 12th. Cash markets were steady to mostly higher last week but a sharp decline in loins late last week was seen to have reducer packer margins. Exports has become more and more important to the market and reached 24.2% of total production in November. With China back from the Lunar New Year holiday, many traders will monitor pork cut-out values this week for any sign of improving demand. The pork cut-out values decline combined with cash market strength last week was thought to have significantly reduced packer margins. Mild Midwest weather may have added to the negative tone for the market. The CME Lean Hog Index as of January 25th came in at 86.76, up 48 cents from the previous session and up from 84.96 one week previously. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 407,000 head Friday and 58,000 head for Saturday. This brought the total for last week to 2.167 million head, down from 2.221 million head the previous week and down from 2.185 million head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close Friday came in at $83.26, down 3 cents from Thursday and down from $85.64 the previous week. This was the lowest since January 11th.
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