The US hog price is now 40% lower than a year ago, and down almost as sharply from the corresponding period in 2000. Industry sentiment there is reported deeply pessimistic, with the price expected to fall further in the autumn.
In Canada, too, producers and processors who have been investing heavily in capacity growth are starting to talk of structural dangers rather than just a predictable price cycle.
Pigmeat sector analysts in the UK and on the Continent tend to play down the significance of this. They claim some of the trouble in North America is due to processing capacity shortages and changes in the profiles of the on-farm production systems, price volatility reflecting supply chain glitches in addition to the shifting balance of availability and demand.