Meat Prices Diverge

As you prepare for a Labor Day cookout, don’t be surprised if you see pork on sale at the grocery store while beef appears pricey.

Hog prices are near a five-month low, trading Friday near 62 cents per pound. U.S. hog and pork inventories are ample, being driven higher by poor U.S. pork exports. During trade disputes with China and Mexico, foreign demand from two of our major buyers faltered, leading to a backup of pork. A new round of tariffs by China announced Friday suggests that trade won’t increase soon.

Meanwhile, U.S. beef prices are near a two-year high, driven especially higher after a major beef processing plant in Kansas went offline last week due to a fire. The loss of that facility caused a selloff in live cattle prices, which means that the remaining slaughterhouses are making killer profits as they buy cheap cattle and convert them to high-value beef.