Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures firmed on Friday, supported by technical buying after sagging to their lowest in nearly three months on Thursday, traders said.
CME August hog futures, the most actively traded contract, ended up 1.075 cents at 99.775 cents (all figures US$).
The wholesale U.S. pork carcass cutout price dropped $2.95, to $110.04, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.
Profit margins at pork processors improved slightly as hog futures crumbled. Packers were facing a loss of $25.19 per head, up from a loss of $48.22 on Thursday, according to Denver-based livestock marketing advisory service HedgersEdge.com.
August live cattle futures settled 0.175 cent higher at 122.8 cents/lb. CME August feeder cattle ended up 2.4 cents at 159.55 cents/lb.
After the close, the U.S. Agriculture Department said that the number of cattle on feed in the U.S. as of June 1 stood at 100 per cent of the year-ago total. Analysts had been expecting 100.5 per cent.
USDA quoted the choice boxed beef cutout value at $304.56/cwt, down $2.86 from Thursday, and the select cutout up four cents at $276.18/cwt.
— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.