U.S. livestock: Lean hogs surge on stocks data, strong pork demand

Chicago/Reuters – Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures climbed for a second day on Tuesday, with some contracts surging more than 3 percent, on bullish pork stocks data and seasonal buying, traders said.

Prices climbed from the opening bell as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported tighter-than-anticipated U.S. stocks of frozen pork and the tightest March pork belly stocks on record in a monthly report after Monday’s market close.

“I think the hogs are moving off partly the bullish cold storage report and the fact that the seasonal rally is due to start this time of the year,” said independent livestock trader Dan Norcini. “Pork demand must be phenomenal based on that cold storage,” he added.

The USDA said March pork belly stocks were up slightly from the prior month but down 68 percent from a year earlier.

CME May lean hogs closed 0.825 cents per pound higher at 65.225 cents.

The actively traded June contract ended up 2.300 cents at 71.825 cents, a 3.3-percent gain that was the contract’s strongest in nearly seven months.

Live cattle futures rebounded from Monday’s setback on strong beef demand and tighter-than-expected frozen beef supplies, with prices hovering just below one-year highs posted late last week.

The USDA’s cold storage report on showed a 38-million-pound drop in U.S. frozen beef stocks during March, one of the steepest declines on record for the month.

CME April live cattle closed 0.825 cent per pound higher at 129.825 cents. Actively traded June futures ended 0.975 cents higher at 115.825 cents, notching a gain for the thirteenth time in the last 14 sessions.

Tuesday afternoon’s average wholesale choice beef price climbed 34 cents per cwt to $219.01 while select cuts added $1.98 to $206.27, the USDA said.

CME April feeder cattle ended 0.475 cent per pound higher at 138.725 cents. Actively traded May closed 0.225 cents higher at 137.675 cents.

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