July hogs closed sharply higher on the session yesterday and rose to the highest price levels since April 27th. The sharp rise in pork product prices late Monday helped to support higher packer bids in the cash market, while the jump in rib prices led cut-out values higher. Many traders are projecting strong demand from packer during upcoming weeks, while the rally in pork product prices may help push packer margins back into the black. Solid demand from retailers for Memorial Day features has been widely seen as a key supportive force this week. Rib prices pushed up to $141.44 this week from $128.28 last week, and some traders feel that this positive trend could continue for several more weeks as the pork market is finally showing some seasonal strength. Packers are thought to have bid up the live cash market this week as well, as Saturday slaughter estimates are on the rise. Faster movement of pork through the pipeline might help to ease average hog weights, which have been running much higher than normal. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $82.24, up 25 cents from Monday and up from $78.87 the previous week. This is the highest pork value since March 19th. The CME Lean Hog Index as of May 11 came in at 79.17, down 18 cents from the previous session and down from 80.26 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 415,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 818,000 head, down from 828,000 head last week at this time but up from 804,000 head a year ago.