U.S. livestock: Hog futures rise on export hopes

CME cattle futures weaken

CME December 2020 lean hogs with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. hog futures rose 1.7 per cent on Friday, with the market shrugging off bearish supply data on hopes that exports would remain strong, traders said.

“At a time when we are nearing our fourth-quarter peak in supply, the market is highly focused on the belief that export sales are running the show,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist for commodity broker Allendale.

Demand from China remains strong after an African swine fever outbreak ravaged herds across the world’s top consumer of pork earlier this year.

A U.S. Agriculture Department report released on Thursday after the market closed showed that the hog herd as of Sept. 1 was 100.7 per cent of the year-earlier total. Analysts had been expecting 100.1 per cent, according to a Reuters survey.

Cattle futures were lower, with the front-month live cattle contract falling from its highest level in more than a month on some end-of-week profit taking.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange October live cattle settled 0.45 cent lower at 107.575 cents/lb. and December dropped 0.875 cent to end at 111.4 cents (all figures US$).

CME October feeder cattle settled 1.95 cents lower at 140.325 cents/lb., and most-active November ended down 2.2 cents at 140.15 cents.

CME October lean hog futures rose 2.275 cents to end at 71.75 cents/lb. and most-active December hogs gained 1.15 cents, to 64.425 cents.

After the close, USDA said that number of cattle on feed as of Sept. 1 was 104 per cent of a year earlier, topping market estimates for 103.3 per cent.

Nelson said the bearish figure would weigh on the markets early next week.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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