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Lean Hogs Dec '23 (HEZ23)
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Contract Specifications for [[ item.sessionDateDisplayLong ]]
Barchart Symbol HE
Exchange Symbol HE
Contract Lean Hogs
Exchange CME
Tick Size 0.00025 per pound ($10.00 per contract)
Margin/Maintenance $1,650/1,500
Daily Limit 3.75 cents per pound ($1,500 per contract) Expanded Limit 5.5 cents
Contract Size 40,000 pounds
Months Feb, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Oct, Dec (G, J, K, M, N, Q, V, Z)
Trading Hours 8:30a.m. - 1:05p.m. (Settles 1:00p.m.) CST
Value of One Futures Unit $400
Value of One Options Unit $400
Last Trading Day The tenth business day of the contract month


Hogs are generally bred twice a year in a continuous cycle designed to provide a steady flow of production. The gestation period for hogs is 3-1/2 months, and the average litter size is nine pigs. The pigs are weaned at 3-4 weeks of age. The pigs are then fed to maximize weight gain. The feed consists primarily of grains such as corn, barley, milo, oats, and wheat. Protein is added from oilseed meals. Hogs typically gain 3.1 pounds per pound of feed. The time from birth to slaughter is typically six months. Hogs are ready for slaughter at about 254 pounds, producing a dressed carcass weight of around 190 pounds and an average 88.6 pounds of lean meat. The lean meat consists of 21% ham, 20% loin, 14% belly, 3% spareribs, 7% Boston butt roast and blade steaks, and 10% picnic, with the remaining 25% going into jowl, lean trim, fat, miscellaneous cuts, and trimmings. Futures on lean hogs are traded at the CME Group. The futures contract is settled in cash based on the CME Lean Hog Index price, meaning that no physical delivery of hogs occurs. The CME Lean Hog Index is based on the 2-day average net price of slaughtered hogs at the average lean percentage level.

Prices - CME lean hog futures prices ( electronic symbol HE) posted the low for 2022 of 77.050 cents per pound in January. Hog prices were well-supported by tight U.S. pork supplies in the first half of 2022. The USDA's Jan cold storage report showed stocks of pork in U.S. cold storage as of December 1, 2021, fell -4.1% yr/yr to 399 million pounds, the lowest since 2010. Also, the spread of the omicron variant of the Covid virus prompted slaughterhouses to curb output as workers called in sick, further limiting pork production. The Q2 USDA Hogs & Pigs Inventory report showed the U.S. hog herd on June 1 fell -1.1% yr/yr to a 4-year low of 72.314 million hogs. Hog prices climbed to a 1-1/2 year high of 122.525 cents per pound in August. Tight hog supplies pushed the price of cash hogs to a record high of 132.48 USD/cwt (data from 2004) in August. Also, ham prices soared to an 8-year high in August. Hog prices then tumbled into October on signs of shrinking pork demand in China, the world's largest pork importer, as it ramped up its domestic pork production after African swine fever in 2021 decimated its hog herds. Chinese pork demand also suffered as a resurgence of the pandemic in 2022 prompted lockdowns that closed restaurants. The subsequent decline in U.S. pork exports boosted domestic pork supplies as stocks of pork in U.S. cold storage as of August 1 jumped +17.1% yr/yr to 532 million pounds. Hog prices then stabilized and moved sideways into year-end. Hog prices ended 2022 up +7.6% yr/yr at 87.700 cents per pound.

Supply - The number of hogs on world farms as of January 1, 2023, fell by -1.8% yr/yr to 769.706 million head. The number of hogs in the U.S. as of January 1, 2023, fell by -1.8% yr/yr to 73.119 million head. The countries with the largest number of hogs as of January 1, 2023, were China with 57.2% of the world's hogs, the European Union with 18.2%, the U.S. with 9.5%, and Brazil with 4.4%.

Demand - The federally-inspected hog slaughter in the U.S. in 2022 fell by -2.8% yr/yr to 124.673 million head.

Information on commodities is courtesy of the CRB Yearbook, the single most comprehensive source of commodity and futures market information available. Its sources - reports from governments, private industries, and trade and industrial associations - are authoritative, and its historical scope for commodities information is second to none. The CRB Yearbook is part of the Barchart product line. Please visit us for all of your commodity data needs.

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