Bloomberg News

Hog Futures Decline on Climbing U.S. Pork Supplies; Cattle Rise

February 09, 2012

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Hog prices fell for the second time this week on signs of increasing U.S. supplies of pork. Cattle futures gained.

Slaughtered hogs in Iowa and southern Minnesota, the biggest U.S. pork-producing area, averaged 275 pounds (125 kilograms) in the week ending Feb. 4, up 1.6 pounds from a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. The “relatively mild winter” this year may have boosted weights, said Dick Quiter, a broker at McFarland Commodities LLC. Animals use more energy in colder conditions, slowing weight gain.

“There are plenty of hogs around,” Quiter said in a telephone interview from Chicago. “Packers aren’t having to reach with any type of higher bids to get all the hogs they want.”

Hog futures for April settlement fell 0.2 percent to close at 88.95 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price has gained 5.5 percent this year.

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.2 percent to settle at $1.288 a pound in Chicago. The commodity has gained 6.1 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement rose 0.2 percent to $1.55275 a pound.

Meatpackers processed an estimated 592,000 cattle last week, down 2.6 percent from a week earlier, USDA data show. At midday, wholesale beef climbed 0.4 percent to $1.8647 a pound, the highest since Jan. 12.

Processors “really slashed the slaughter rates,” Adam Stout, a risk-management consultant at FCStone Group Inc. in Kansas City, Missouri, said in a telephone interview. “That may be finally catching up with us,” resulting in higher beef prices, he said.

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Thomas Galatola

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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