April 2 Weekly Update

4/2 – In its quarterly Hogs & Pigs Report, the USDA said that March 1st hog inventories were up 3.1% from a year ago. The number of hogs kept for breeding was up 1.7%. The average number of pigs saved per litter was record high at 10.58 for Dec-Feb. Looking forward for the March-May quarter, U.S. pig farmers intend to have 3.08M sows farrow, 2% higher than a year ago. The numbers are in line with pre-report estimates and show that producer profitability continues to drive herd increases. The USDA is calling for a 5.2% increase in pork output this year, coming on top of a 2.6% gain in 2017. The extra pork will have to be cleared through export sales. In 2017, Mexico accounted for 27% of all U.S. pork exports; Japan 16%; China 5%. So while the trade spat with China will have some degree of impact, it’s the Nafta negotiations that have the full attention of pork producers.