Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures closed mostly higher on Friday as speculators continued to push prices higher due to concerns about African swine fever in China, traders said.
The spread of the deadly virus has raised expectations of a pick-up in demand from China, the world’s top pork buyer.
“The African swine fever story continues to be the dominant theme here,” said Craig VanDyke of Top Third Ag Marketing. “There is a lot working for the hog market right now.”
Most hog contracts hit new highs on Friday.
Technical buying also contributed strength to the hog market which was oversold coming into the week, VanDyke said.
CME May lean hogs were 0.175 cent higher at 91 cents and June hogs, the most actively traded contract, rose 1.125 cents to close at 98.975 cents (all figures US$).
But the expiring April hogs contract ended 0.55 cent lower at 79.025 cents/lb.
Cattle futures were mostly weaker following cash market values that were pulled lower by plentiful supplies.
April live cattle futures were down 1.5 cents at 126.05 cents/lb. while the actively traded June contract dropped 1.225 cents, to 120.35 cents.
April feeder cattle futures were off 0.175 cent at 146.15 cents/lb. while May feeders rose 0.15 cent at 150.225.
— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.