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Hogs Jump to Six-Month High as Pork Supply Falls; Cattle Slide

Hog futures climbed to a six-month high on signs of increasing demand and shrinking supplies of U.S. pork. Cattle prices dropped.

Wholesale pork climbed 0.6 percent to 84.25 cents a pound yesterday, the highest since Dec. 11, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. U.S. pork output will total 5.725 billion pounds (2.6 million metric tons) this quarter, down 8.3 percent from the prior three months, the USDA estimates.

“The packer right now is scrambling for supplies all the way into the summer,” Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “Part of that is due to this drop in pork production that was projected by the government in the last USDA report.”

Hog futures for April settlement climbed 0.5 percent to 87.85 cents a pound at 9:55 a.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after reaching 88.5 cents, the highest for the most- active contract since July 9.

Meatpackers processed 1.29 million hogs in the first three days of this week, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier, USDA figures show.

Cattle futures for April delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1.32275 a pound on the CME.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement declined 0.5 percent to $1.47475 a pound in Chicago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Campbell in Chicago at ecampbell14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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