According to Chris Hurt, Purdue University ag economist, retail pork prices, which hovered above $4/lb. in May, have yet to top out in 2014.
Simply, the U.S. pork supply is not recovering fast enough from losses due to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which killed roughly 8 percent of piglets during the 2013-2014 winter months. PEDv continues to be highly lethal, and the pork shortage is compounded by foreign buyers looking to make plays before further contraction in the market:
If there's good news from an epidemic of piglet deaths caused by diarrhea, it's that producers are also making astronomical profits. Second quarter profits reached $70 per head, but Hurt expects that record to be surpassed in the third quarter when profits should reach $90. Retail pork prices are averaging approximately 70% of retails prices for beef, which is also experiencing its lowest supply since the 1950s.
Hurt does not foresee the pork supply rebuilding enough to moderate prices significantly until late 2015.