US pork producer Smithfield Foods has said it expects higher first-quarter earnings due to a rise in hog prices.

The Smithfield, Virginia-based company forecast earnings of between 18 and 21 cents per share for the quarter to 27 July, compared to 11 cents per share a year earlier.

The company said improved hog production results would be substantially offset by continuing weak margins on fresh pork as a result of increased live hog prices and the seasonal impact associated with pork operations in summer months.