June hogs closed higher on the session yesterday but near the lows of the day and well off of their early highs. Weakness in the US dollar and a surge higher in the stock market were seen as positive forces for hog prices. From a fairly large base of production during the first quarter, pork production looks to decline by 370 million pounds over the second quarter of this year. This is the second largest decline on record, and could create a stronger than normal seasonal uptrend for the cash market going into May and June. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $78.82, down 71 cents from Wednesday but up from $78.15 the previous week. Some traders feel that it will be important to see a recovery in pork product prices during the second half of this month. Monthly pork exports for February were pegged at 455.32 million pounds, which was well down from near 500 million pounds in the previous several months but still up 17.5% from last year. Sales to China were 54 million pounds, which is down from the peak of nearly 118 million pounds just a few months previously but still one of the highest monthly totals on record. South Korea, on the other hand, jumped to near 52 million pounds, which is up from near 20 million pounds per month in late 2011. The CME Lean Hog Index as of April 10th came in at 82.54, up 4 cents from the previous session and down from 82.68 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 417,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.526 million head, down from 1.667 million head last week at this time and down from 1.624 million head a year ago. Actual US pork production for the week ending March 31st came in at 443.4 million pounds, down from 445.4 million pounds the previous week and up 0.8% from a year ago.