U.S. livestock: Hogs rise on technical buying, demand outlook

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures firmed for a fourth straight session on Thursday, lifted by technical buying and good demand for pork, traders said.

Persistent concerns about the spread of African swine fever in China, the world’s top hog and pork producer, also underpinned prices as forecasts for big global hog supplies were seen tightening due to the outbreak.

“There’s a little more demand optimism that is helping carry things a bit in the hogs, as well as long-term supply concerns,” said Matthew Wiegand, a broker with FuturesOne.

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“The swine fever stuff is just going to linger out there until we know more about that,” he said.

CME December hogs rose 0.075 cent to settle at 57.075 cents/lb. (all figures US$). The more active February hog contract was up 1.4 cents at 63.75 cents, breaking through chart resistance at its 20-, 30- and 200-day moving averages.

The market remained cautious ahead of a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping in Argentina later this month, when the leaders will discuss the trade dispute that has weighed on commodity markets for months.

Beijing slapped tariffs on U.S. pork in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods, effectively halting exports to China.

Cattle rise

Live cattle futures ended mostly higher on news that top beef importer Japan was considering scrapping import restrictions on U.S. shipments that were put in place when the first U.S. case of BSE was discovered in 2003.

Futures traders are also awaiting more active cash cattle trade at U.S. Plains markets, where packers are not expected to buy as many cattle as normal this week because of slaughterhouse downtime next week during the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

Packer bids were around $113-$114/cwt on cattle offered at $116 or more. The bulk of sales last week were at $114.

CME December live cattle ended 0.55 cent higher at 115.15 cents/lb., while February futures, the most active month, rose 0.5 cent to 119.1 cents.

Feeder cattle futures ended mostly higher on spill-over support from live cattle.

Actively traded January feeder cattle ended 0.875 cent higher at 147.85 cents/lb., while March gained 0.75 cent, to 144.55 cents.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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