Farmer's Report

Pork TRENDS - August 16, 2019

Pork market information from the week of Aug. 5, 2019.

Last week the USDA estimated hog slaughter was 2.354 MM hogs, a marginal increase from the previous week and slightly higher than the 2.341 MM harvest last year.

The USDA has released export data for the month of June. Total pork exports were down from May, but were almost 10% higher than June last year.


Prices in the loin complex are reported as stronger. Analyst reference out-front retail demand for Labor Day, Oktoberfest and even exports as driving demand. The loin complex increased significantly last year in September, and analysts believe it may follow a similar pattern this year.


Pork tenderloin prices continued to move lower for a fourth consecutive week. Analysts cite excellent supply and a lack of aggressive features as tempering any significant price spike. Tenderloin prices typically peak in July-August, so analysts speculate that perhaps the last four weeks indicates that this market has peaked.


Pork butt prices moved lower. Supply remains sufficient due to the larger harvest levels, but analysts report that demand is likely fading across the various channels. Analysts report retailers may be promoting cheaper cuts of meat such as bone-in loins. Pork butt prices typically hold steady in through August and move higher in September.


The rib complex moved higher. Back rib prices have been on a steady decline for the past couple weeks, but analysts report that occasional spikes in demand will alter the downward trajectory. That is expected this time of year, as analysts believe various channels may be promoting ribs for the Labor Day holiday. Sparerib prices continue to recover higher from the 10-year low they dipped to, as they are still considered a value.


The belly market continues to move higher. Analysts believe increased demand being negotiated for Labor Day promotions and further out. Prices are approaching last year’s highs, so buyers are likely beginning to push back. The belly market should be considered volatile.


Ham prices continued higher, but the momentum has definitely slowed. The USDA Cold Storage report indicates the there is strong demand from buyers filling freezers with hams. Processor demand is also supporting the ham market for out-front holiday bookings. Last year, ham prices were a bit of a roller coaster from now through October.


Trimming prices are forecasted to be much lower for the balance of August, until Labor Day demand begins to ramp back up.


Picnic prices were mixed. Historically the bone-in picnic market typically moves lower through August before export demand in Q4 pushes prices higher. It is reported that boneless picnics are moving lower in response to plentiful supply and the declining 72% trim market.

The data contained in the Farmer’s Report is provided for informational purposes only, is not tailored to your specific purchasing needs, and is not intended as a substitute for any other publicly-available market data or information. The Farmer’s Report is compiled from the last-received market data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and/or other market sources, and is subject to change without notice. Nothing herein is the opinion of US Foods®. US Foods neither assumes any legal liability nor makes any warranty or guaranty, either express or implied, regarding the completeness, accuracy or usefulness of this information.