4/01 – In Thursday’s quarterly Hogs & Pigs Report, the USDA confirmed very large U.S. pork supplies. As of March 1st, total hog numbers and the market hog inventory were both up 2.1% from a year ago. The Dec-Feb pig crop was up 3%, with record-large pigs per litter at 10.7. Those numbers could push the USDA’s projected 4.2% increase in pork output for 2019 to 4.5% or higher. But China’s hog losses from African Swine Fever, currently estimated at 20%, already exceed TOTAL annual U.S. pork production. The Chinese said they intend to reduce their U.S. trade deficit by buying U.S. pork. So despite large supplies, hog prices have been on the rise as China threatens to create a demand that may be too big for the world to fill. Lean hog futures, which averaged $55.71/cwt for the month of Feb, peaked at $81.33 last week before settling back to $75.69 on Friday.