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Virus could threaten pork supply

In this weekly Commodities Watch column, John T. Barone, president and commodities analyst for Market Vision Inc., offers a snapshot of the state of commodities for restaurants.

The June 28 USDA “Hogs and Pigs” report showed the market hog inventory at 60.76 million head, a decrease of 0.1 percent from a year ago.

Supplies are lower partly due to a drop in Canadian imports, and they may get tighter if hog losses from the Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) continue. So far there have been 265 positive samples in 19 states, with 60 of them in Oklahoma.

This is still a very small outbreak, but it bears close watching as it could impact supplies if not contained soon. A summary of positive PEDv tests and locations can be found at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians website, along with fact sheets and white papers.

Smaller hog supplies point to lower-than-expected slaughter levels for the second half of 2013. Even so, pork output in the second half of 2013 could still be 2 percent larger than a year ago. And with breeding inventory rising 0.3 compared to 2012, producers appear poised to capitalize on potentially lower feed prices.

Contact John T. Barone at [email protected].

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