Large pork purchases by China in recent months have triggered profit opportunities for U.S. hog farmers, but the long-term outlook is much more unsettled, pork market analyst Steve Meyer said last week at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines.

"We think it’s going to be a profitable year this year," said Meyer, vice president for pork analysis at EMI Analytics. "We’re less enthusiastic about 2017."

Meyer said strong futures market prices for pork are based more on speculation than fundamentals.

"The futures market is betting on some real big sales to China," he said. "We do not have our cash forecast anywhere near as high as those futures prices are at the present time. We don’t think supply and...