April hogs closed moderately higher on the session yesterday as positive outside market factors and a recovery in cattle helped to support the market. Supportive trends for outside market forces such as the US Dollar and equity markets helped to provide a positive tone to the market early. In addition, talk of strong cash markets Wednesday and a firmer trade for loins which in turn lifted cut-out values were also felt to be a supportive factor. Some traders feel that the recent weakness in the pork market does not provide much confidence that China is an active buyer of US pork at present. Weaker packer margins and talk of a slower slaughter for Saturday were also thought to have pressured the market. Weights are higher than normal as weather and sluggish demand may have the market less current than many in the market is adequate. Some traders feel that the recent weakness in the pork market does not provide much confidence that China is an active buyer of US pork at present. The CME Lean Hog Index as of March 6th came in at 87.17, down 20 cents from the previous session and down from 87.63 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 419,000 head yesterday, which was a little lower than expected. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.679 million head, down from 1.686 million head last week at this time but up from 1.671 million head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $83.99, down $1.43 from Wednesday and down from $84.86 the previous week. This is the lowest pork value since January 30th.
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