Iotron Technology Inc.


040213 2003 Pork Exports Up 6.6% From 2002

February 22, 2004

Hog slaughter at 1896 thousand head this week under Federal Inspection was one of the smallest for a non-holiday week this year. However, it was still 1.1% above the same week last year.

Demand for loins and Boston butts faltered this week with prices for quarter-inch trim loins at $110.91 per cwt at noon Friday --- down $17.58 per cwt for the week. Boston butts with quarter-inch trim at $69.91 per cwt compared to $79.00 a week earlier. Hams weighing 17-20# were $56 per cwt compared to $55 per cwt 7 days earlier and 14-16# bellies at $95 per cwt compared to $93 per cwt last Friday.

This decline in price was not due to supply because slaughter was down this week by 2.5% compared to the prior 2 weeks.

Ag Canada released their Hogs and Pigs Report for January 1 this week and it was not positive for the North American hog prices for this year.

The farrowing intentions for Canada were up over 6% for the first 2 quarters of 2004 compared to 2003. Farrowings for the fourth quarter of 2003 in the U.S. and Canada combined were up 2.5% from 2002, for the first quarter of 2004 up 2.7% and the second quarter up 0.4% compared to a year earlier.

These data indicate slaughter for this year will likely be up more than our earlier estimate of nearly 2% from 2003.

So far demand is bailing us a part of the way out of the hole we are in. Cash hog prices this week were $8-10 per cwt above a year earlier in live weights and carcass prices were up $13-14 per cwt.

Pork exports for 2003 were up 6.6% from 2002 and the twelfth consecutive year for record exports. Our exports to Japan were up, but by less than 3%, up to Canada about 2%, up to Mexico by over 11%, and up to South Korea by nearly 13%.

Unfortunately our pork imports were up by nearly 11% in 2003 compared to a year earlier. Our imports from Canada were up 10.4% and from Denmark by 19.6% from 2002.

Live hog imports exceeded 7 million head in 2003 from Canada and were up nearly 30%. Feeder pig imports were up over 32% and slaughter imports were up 24.5%. All of the slaughter increase was in the last half of the year.

Slaughter hog imports in December from Canada were up enough to add about 1.3% to our total slaughter under Federal Inspection in December.

Feeder pig prices were from $5-7 per cwt higher this week at United Producers Tel-O-Auction than 2 weeks earlier. The prices by weight groups at United this week were: 40-50# $91-100 per cwt, 50-60# $81.50-100.50, 60-70# $78-81.50 and 70-80# $78. Early weaner pig prices have already started slipping seasonally.

Top cash live hog prices this Friday morning were from $0.50 to $2.25 below a week earlier. These prices for select markets were: Peoria $40.00 per cwt, St. Paul $41.00, Sioux Falls $N/A and interior Missouri $42.25.

The average weighted prices for 185# carcasses with 0.9-1.1 inch-back fat 6 square-inch loin 2 inches deep were $0.71 to $1.25 below 7 days earlier. These prices by area for Friday morning were western Cornbelt $60.53 per cwt, eastern Cornbelt $61.51, Iowa-Minnesota $60.37 and nation $60.82.



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