U.S. livestock: Pork demand, wintry weather boost CME hogs

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures rose for a second straight session on Monday, driven by improved wholesale pork prices and a winter storm churning in parts of the upper western Corn Belt, said traders.

April hogs closed 1.225 cents/lb. higher at 68.8 cents, and May finished 1.1 cents higher at 75.75 cents (all figures US$).

Retailers paid more for pork as they prepare for the approaching spring grilling season while featuring hams heading into the Easter holiday, said analysts and traders.

They said snow and icy conditions in Iowa and Minnesota might disrupt hog production, forcing packers in the region to raise bids for supplies.

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Funds in CME’s livestock markets that follow the Standard + Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index sold, or “rolled,” some of their April long positions into the June contract. The process was done in advance of similar moves that will officially begin on Wednesday and last five business days.

Cattle futures rebound

Short-covering and firmer beef prices at wholesale reversed CME live cattle futures’ recent losses, said traders.

They said fund buying provided added support to deferred contracts after they initially broke through technical resistance levels.

April ended 1.05 cents/lb. higher at 123.225 cents, and June finished 0.95 cent higher at 115.35 cents.

Processors may compete for cattle this week given their much-improved margins, a trader said.

Supermarkets are gearing up to feature beef for spring grilling despite the usual slowdown in meat demand that accompanies the Lenten season, he said.

Last week, packers paid mostly $126-$127/cwt for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle that a week earlier brought $128.

Technical buying, steady-to-firmer cash feeder cattle prices and higher CME live cattle futures rallied the exchange’s feeder cattle contracts.

March feeders ended 1.475 cents/lb. higher at 145.15 cents.

Reporting for Reuters by Theopolis Waters in Chicago.

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