U.S. livestock: Hog futures extend rally on cash prices, tight supply

Cash cattle, beef values see 'significant disconnect'

CME July 2021 lean hogs with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures hit contract highs for the third consecutive day on Tuesday as a strong cash market and tight supplies pushed up prices.

Solid demand for pork has helped boost the market, with meat processors paying up to buy hogs from producers, analysts said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture pork cutout value has climbed recently, reflecting the demand. The cutout slipped by 48 cents, to $111.18/cwt, for carcasses on Tuesday, though (all figures US$).

Hog supplies remain limited, in contrast to ample supplies of cattle available in the market, said Rich Nelson, chief market strategist for Illinois-based broker Allendale.

“The hog side now has a shortening supply of hog numbers,” he said.

CME most-active June lean hogs set a new contract high of 113.8 cents/lb. before trimming gains to settle up 0.9 cent at 113.55 cents/lb. The contract has gained 37 per cent this year.

July hogs set a contract high for the third consecutive day, topping out at 113.65 cents per pound before ending at 113.425 cents.

Meatpackers are slaughtering a steady number of hogs at a time of year when the pace of slaughter would normally be declining, Nelson said.

Packers processed an estimated 487,000 hogs, compared to 486,000 hogs a week ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They slaughtered 121,000 cattle, unchanged from a week earlier.

CME’s June live cattle futures fell 2.275 cents to 113.025 cents/lb., while August feeder cattle futures sank 3.625 cents to 143.175 cents/lb.

Domestic and export demand for U.S. beef remains robust, traders said. The strong demand is helping to fuel a “significant disconnect” between cash cattle and wholesale beef prices, Nelson said.

Choice beef cutouts jumped by $1.92/cwt, to $301.22, while select cuts rose 12 cents, to $283.91, according to USDA.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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