U.S. livestock: Hogs rally from four-month lows on fund buying

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. lean hogs climbed 1.7 per cent on Tuesday, rallying on technical and investment fund buying after falling to more than four-month lows last week, traders and analysts said.

Rising wholesale pork prices also bolstered hog futures amid expectations the meat was becoming more competitive with more pricier beef cuts.

Live cattle futures were narrowly higher at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange but finished below earlier multi-month highs.

CME April lean hog futures settled up 1.05 cents higher at 69.2 cents/lb., recouping a portion of steep losses notched late last week.

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The wholesale pork cutout was up $1.36, to $79.72/cwt, while cash hogs in the top market of Iowa and southern Minnesota eased 18 cents to $65.13/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Cash hogs continue to struggle a little bit but the (pork) product market is starting to pick up some gains, and that’s going to be more influential,” said Top Third Ag Marketing analyst Craig VanDyke.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released after the close of trading on Friday showed speculative investors liquidating long bets in hog futures.

Some investment funds might have been making new longs after the bigger-than-expected selloff, VanDyke added.

CME April live cattle settled up 0.075 cent at 127.725 cents/lb. and March feeder cattle up 0.075 cent to 149.8 cents/lb.

Investors were beginning to square up their cattle positions ahead of USDA’s monthly Cattle on Feed report due on Friday. A Reuters poll of analysts expected the government to show a slight increase in the number of cattle placed on feed for fattening in January.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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