Hog futures fell to the lowest in almost two weeks after a report showed the sow herd unexpectedly increased, signaling more pork supplies. Cattle prices were little changed.
About 5.817 million sows were being held back for breeding at the start of this month, up 0.2 percent from 5.803 million a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a quarterly report released after the close of regular trading on Dec. 28. Ten analysts in a Bloomberg News survey expected the herd to decline 0.8 percent, on average.
“The hog and pig report was negative,” Christian Mayer, a market adviser at Northstar Commodity Investments Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “When you’re looking at more pigs down the line, that’s not what the trade was necessarily anticipating. We’ll have a time where we set back here a little bit.”
Hog futures for February settlement fell 1.4 percent to 85.2 cents a pound at 10:03 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after reaching 84.85 cents, the lowest for the most- active contract since Dec. 18. The price rose 2.5 percent this year through Dec. 28, heading for the fifth straight increase.
Sows averaged 10.15 pigs per litter in the three months ended Nov. 30, a record for the quarter and up from 10.02 a year earlier, the USDA said in the report.
Cattle futures for February delivery climbed 0.1 percent to $1.3365 a pound in Chicago. The price gained 10 percent this year through Dec. 28, heading for the fourth straight annual rally.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement advanced 0.4 percent to $1.554 a pound.
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