Rising cattle and hog prices have driven retail meat prices higher recently, and while that's not expected to change quickly, pork prices may come down yet this year while beef prices could take until 2015 to cool.
"Farm prices for hogs averaged $85/cwt. between April and June, up nearly 24% from the same period last year," says Aaron Goertzen, economist, BMO Capital Markets. "Meanwhile, cattle prices averaged $146/cwt during the same period, nearly 18% higher than last year."
After adjusting for inflation, Goertzen says hog prices are now at their highest since the mid-1990s, while real cattle prices are higher than they've been since the early 1980s.
Goertzen said part of the reason for the supply constraint is that producers are retaining breeding herds instead of sending females to slaughter. "Much of the run-up in cattle prices has resulted from this herd rebuilding dynamic," he says.
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