U.S. livestock: Lean hogs fall on declining wholesale pork prices

Steady beef demand lifts cattle futures

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. lean hog futures fell on Wednesday on weaker wholesale pork prices, while cattle futures advanced on steady beef demand, traders said.

The U.S. pork cutout, an indication of wholesale pork prices, fell by $4.31, to $84.52/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (all figures US$). Prices eased for pork bellies, ribs, butts and loins.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange December lean hogs futures slid 1.275 cents, to 66.375 cents/lb.

Technical selling added pressure on futures prices after lean hogs closed weaker on Tuesday, analysts said.

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On Thursday, traders will review weekly U.S. export sales data for signs of improved demand from China, the world’s top pork consumer.

Traders have been hoping for increased U.S. sales to Chinese buyers after China and other Asian buyers banned imports of German pork in September because of deadly pig disease in wild boar. China’s purchases of U.S. pork have fallen short of some traders’ expectations.

Nine more case of the disease, African swine fever, have been confirmed in wild boars in the eastern German region of Brandenburg, Germany’s federal agriculture ministry said on Wednesday. The new discoveries bring the total number of confirmed cases to 103 since Sept. 10, all in wild animals.

In the beef market, CME December live cattle futures rose 0.625 cent, to 104.675 cents/lb. January feeder cattle jumped 1.525 cents, to 129.95 cents/lb., and reached their highest price since Oct. 16.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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