9/30 – The U.S. pork industry continues to be driven by two distinct narratives: 1) very large current pork supplies, and 2) the prospects for a huge increase in future exports due to China’s African Swine Fever hog losses. In Friday’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, the USDA reported total U.S. herd inventories on Sept 1st at 77.7M head, up 3.4% from a year ago and a half-point above analyst’s expectations. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 11.11. U.S. pork production is projected to be record large for 2019 and 2020. Against that, the USDA projects China’s pork imports will jump by 41% in 2019 and continue to grow in 2020. If and when they ramp up purchases of U.S. pork is the big unanswered question. CME lean hog futures look to average $70.22/cwt for 2019, up 7.7% from 2018. 2020 futures are averaging $84.34, 20.1% above 2019 levels.