Bloomberg News

Hog Prices Rebound on U.S. Pork Demand Gains; Cattle Rise

May 03, 2012

Cattle rallied to the highest price in almost two weeks on signs that a case of mad cow disease reported last week hasn’t slowed demand for U.S. beef. Hogs climbed.

Beef-export sales totaled 16,829 metric tons in the week ended April 26, up 8.8 percent from a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Mexico, Japan, Egypt, South Korea and Canada reported increases, the agency said in a report today.

“This morning’s beef export sales report didn’t show any big drop-off in beef sales,” Rich Nelson, the director of research for Allendale Inc. said in a telephone interview from McHenry, Illinois.

Cattle futures for June delivery rose by the 3-cent exchange limit, or 2.7 percent to settle at $1.15875 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That’s the highest since April 20.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement advanced by the 3-cent limit, or 1.9 percent, to $1.57225 a pound in Chicago, the highest since March 16.

The USDA said on April 24 that a dairy cow in California was infected with mad cow disease, the nation’s first case since 2006. On that day, cattle futures fell 2.6 percent to a nine- month low. Prices rebounded 1.1 percent in the next three sessions as Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea, the world’s biggest buyers of U.S. beef last year, said that they won’t halt purchases. After the first case was reported in December 2003, dozens of markets halted or restricted imports of U.S. beef.

Hog futures for June settlement rose 0.6 percent to settle at 84.925 cents a pound on the CME.

Wholesale ham reached 65.92 cents a pound yesterday, a two- month high, USDA data show.

Higher ham prices are giving the market “a little bounce,” Ryan Turner, a risk-management consultant at FCStone Group Inc. said in a telephone interview from Kansas City, Missouri. “That has helped packer margins, and I think that if you can see the product stabilize, you very well may see the futures market stabilize.”

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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