Bloomberg News

Hogs Slide as U.S. Pork Stockpiles Rise; Cattle Drop From Record

January 23, 2012

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Hog prices dropped to a one-week low on signs of increasing supplies of pork and slowing demand. Cattle futures fell from a record.

Warehouses in the U.S. held 481.7 million pounds of pork, up 1.2 percent from 475.8 million on Dec. 31, 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report released after the close of regular trading. Pork output in 2011 rose 1.4 percent to 22.8 billion pounds, the USDA said today in a separate report. On Jan. 18, wholesale pork prices rose to 85.33 cents, a two-week high, USDA data show.

“No one wants to own more inventory than they can move quickly,” Lawrence Kane, a market adviser at Stewart-Peterson Group, said in a telephone interview from Yates City, Illinois. “At these kind of price levels, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of your inventory. Retailers are coming in and buying what they think they can comfortably move and then saying ‘I’m done.’”

Hog futures for April settlement declined 0.5 percent to settle at 87.05 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after reaching 87, the lowest for a most- active contract since Jan. 13.

Cattle futures for April delivery fell 0.1 percent to close at $1.27725 a pound, after reaching $1.29325, the highest for a most-active contract since the commodity began trading on the CME in 1964. Prices are up 5.2 percent in January, heading for the biggest monthly gain since September.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement dropped 0.1 percent to close at $1.5385 a pound on the CME. Earlier, the price reached a record $1.55275.

Feedlots buy year-old animals that weigh 500 pounds (227 kilograms) to 800 pounds, called feeders. The cattle are fattened on corn for about four to five months until they weigh about 1,200 pounds, when they are sold to meatpackers.

--Editors: Thomas Galatola, Bob Brennan

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Campbell in Chicago at ecampbell14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net


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