PEDv to keep pork prices high into 2015

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:

Losses from PEDv have been highly publicized since February, and this has seemingly contributed to aggressive foreign buying of pork in an attempt to avoid the summer pork shortages resulting from peak baby pig deaths last winter.
— Chris Hurt, Purdue University ag economist

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.