Hog Market Struggles To Find Upward Momentum

Jeff Swenson, DATCP livestock and meat specialist, prepared and wrote the following market update. It draws information from several sources, including trade publications, radio broadcasts, agricultural news services, individuals involved in the industry as well as USDA reports. Edited by Mid-West Farm Report.

The hog market continues its struggle to find upward momentum. There has been little news or change in market trends to shift the trajectory.

Cash hogs were 25¢/cwt lower last week. The pork cutout value showed moderate strength last week, gaining $1.15 to average $84.15. Belly prices jumped higher this week.

The USDA estimated a hog harvest of 2.381 million last week. That was 160,000 more than the previous week and 35,000 more than the same week last year. Winter weather hampered hog movement this week with a Tuesday harvest 98,000 less than the previous week.

International pork supply and demand could become an even larger story in 2024. There are reports that November hog harvest totals in China were 40 percent higher than November 2022. It is unclear if the large liquidation is due to African Swine Fever or because of economic factors. The economy there continues to struggle, and pork consumption is down.

Hog prices in the EU are near record levels as heavy culling continues. The conditions in the EU have helped U.S. pork exports, although part of the demand for U.S. pork is due to lower prices here.