The US pork market remains extremely volatile, as participants swing from extreme optimism to extreme pessimism, often in the course of a single month. A recent example: The CME October 2019 lean hog futures contract gained 20% in the two week stretch between July 8 and July 23.

The rally reflected more robust cash hog prices, producers getting more current, better demand in the domestic market and hope that a new round of trade discussions between US and China would result in a breakthrough agreement. Since then, futures have given back all the gains made in the first half of July and October futures are under $66/cwt, a new contract low.

Prices collapsed sharply in the last few days as US-China trade discussions failed to bridge the gap and President Trump announced a 10% tariff on an additional $300 billion of Chinese goods.