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Pig outlook: Lean hog futures showing signs of market bottom

US hog supplies are tightening and wholesale pork and cash hog prices have trended higher lately, even though the rate of gain hasn’t been great. The latest CME cash hog index quote is $75.62. Look for hog and pork prices to advance in the coming days and weeks ahead. Having last week’s kill fall below the comparable year-ago figure for the first time this year was a big step in that direction. It will help the bulls if forthcoming slaughter rates match the implicit USDA forecast of supplies consistently falling 2% below year-ago levels. Pork cutout has also risen about $5.40 from the Jan. 17 low of $77.44. While consumer and grocer demand for most cuts may not prove strong with Lent looming, industry demand for hams to be featured for Easter dinner should provide solid support. Demand for the other cuts should surge as Easter (on April 9), and the unofficial start of grilling season, nears.

Weekly USDA pork export sales

USDA Thursday reported US pork net sales of 45,000 MT for 2023 were up 56 percent from the previous week and 30 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases primarily for Mexico (18,800 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), Japan (11,500 MT, including decreases of 100 MT), South Korea (4,400 MT, including decreases of 700 MT), China (4,100 MT, including decreases of 100 MT), and Colombia (1,200 MT), were offset by reductions for Nicaragua (100 MT). Exports of 30,500 MT were unchanged from the previous week, but down 4 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to Mexico (13,400 MT), China (4,100 MT), Japan (3,500 MT), South Korea (2,600 MT), and Canada (2,300 MT).

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