U.S. livestock: Hogs mostly lower

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures closed mostly lower on Monday, with the market still technically weak despite four straight days of declines last week.

The most-active April hog contract managed to close slightly higher on a mild bargain-buying bounce after hitting its lowest since mid-August.

But most hog contracts were weaker.

“For all the bullish things we hear fundamentally from China, this market acts terrible,” said Jeff French, analyst at Top Third Ag Marketing in Chicago.

China, the world’s top consumer of pork, has been expected to boost its exports from the United States due to an outbreak of African swine fever in its hog herd.

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Also, more deals between the two countries were expected to show up amid a round of optimism surrounding upcoming trade talks between the Washington and Beijing.

But there have been no announcements of new sales, which weighed on cash markets. That disappointment spilled over into futures, French added.

CME February lean hogs ended down 0.4 cent at 57.975 cents/lb. (all figures US$). Most-active April hog futures were up 0.2 cent at 62.325 cents after bottoming out at 61.325 cents early in Monday’s session.

Cattle futures ended higher, supported by traders exiting short positions. Concerns about a cold snap in key production areas this week limited buying opportunities.

CME March feeder cattle was up 0.825 cent at 144.45 cents/lb.

CME February live cattle finished 0.425 cent higher at 126.475 cents/lb. and most-active April cattle ended up 0.475 cent at 127.325 cents.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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