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Hogs Cap Biggest Monthly Drop in Two Years; Cattle Decline

Oct. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Hog prices fell, capping the biggest monthly drop two years, on signs of increased supplies of U.S. pork. Cattle futures had the longest slump since August.

“We have a real abundance of pork,” said Lawrence Kane, a market adviser at Stewart-Peterson Group in Yates City, Illinois.

Hogs in Iowa and the southern Minnesota region weighed about 5.4 pounds (2.4 kilograms) more on average last week than a year earlier, government data show. “Comfortable temperatures” and higher-quality feed led to “some tremendous weight gain” in the U.S. autumn, Kane said.

Hog futures for December settlement fell 0.85 cent, or 1.3 percent, to settle at 66.2 cents a pound at 1:09 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price touched 66.1 cents, the lowest level for a most-active contract since Feb. 2.

This month, futures tumbled 12 percent, the most since October 2008. The price has gained 0.9 percent this year.

Earlier, hogs climbed as much as 0.6 percent on speculation that cheaper meat may spur U.S. consumer demand. Wholesale pork has dropped 24 percent from this year’s high on Aug. 24. Yesterday, the price rose for the first time in five sessions.

“Pork should be getting cheaper at the retail level,” Kane said. “That’s going to bring the consumer back to the pork counter.”

Cattle futures for December delivery fell 0.45 cent, or 0.5 percent, to settle at 98.825 cents a pound. The price dropped for the fifth straight day, the longest slide since late August. The commodity declined 2.8 percent this week and 0.8 percent in October.

Futures are up 15 percent in 2010.

At midday, wholesale choice beef fell 0.9 percent to $1.6084 a pound after gaining in the previous two days, USDA data show.

Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement declined 0.375 cent, or 0.3 percent, to $1.108 a pound.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McKiernan at pmckiernan@bloomberg.net

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