Meat Markets Diverge

Cattle prices continued higher this week, reaching a one-year high, even as hogs dropped to a six-month low.

Beef has been gaining steam as consumer demand has been strong, and a harsh winter in the Great Plains has made it hard for cattle to stay healthy. Meanwhile, U.S. pork is continuing to be bottled up by trade disputes, while the ongoing African swine fever in China is creating a short-term glut of meat and lower demand.

These factors knocked April hog futures under 56 cents per pound this week, while April live cattle garnered $1.28 per pound on Friday, a near-record ratio of the prices.

For carnivorous shoppers, this means that pork chops should be significantly cheaper than steaks, and hot dogs should be on discount compared to hamburgers, creating opportunities for savings at the supermarket.