Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures slid for the third consecutive session on Thursday and touched their lowest prices in more than seven weeks on concerns about increasing supplies, traders said.
The market has weakened since contracts set multi-month highs on Oct. 1 amid worries about meat supplies swelling due to heavier hogs and bigger herds. Technical selling added pressure to prices, traders said.
“Too much pork is going to come at us,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based broker U.S. Commodities.
December hogs settled down 2.4 cents at 52.3 cents/lb. and traded to their lowest level since Aug. 27. February hog futures hit their lowest price since Aug. 24 and ended down 2.35 cents, to 60.225 cents.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it suspended imports of pork from Poland over cases of the highly contagious hog disease African swine fever.
African swine fever has spread rapidly in eastern Europe and China, the world’s largest pork producer. The U.S. is free of the disease, which would likely kill hogs and limit pork exports if infections hit U.S. herds.
In a weekly report on Thursday, USDA reported U.S. pork export sales of 20,800 tonnes reported for 2018, up 24 per cent from the previous week and one per cent from the prior four-week average.
U.S. beef export sales of 13,100 tonnes reported for 2018 were down one per cent from the previous week and 15 percent from the prior four-week average, according to USDA.
CME cattle futures were mixed as traders adjusted positions ahead of a monthly USDA supply report due on Friday.
Analysts polled by Reuters predicted a 0.1 per cent rise in cattle placed on feed during September and about 6.4 per cent more cattle in U.S. feedlots as of Oct. 1.
December live cattle lost 0.2 cent to close at 117.175 cents/lb. November feeder cattle futures rose 1.075 cents, to 154.425 cents/lb.
— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and agribusiness for Reuters from Chicago.