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Hogs Extend Drop to 21-Month Low as Supply Climbs; Cattle Rise

Hog futures fell, extending a slump to a 21-month low, as climbing U.S. pork supplies outpace demand. Cattle advanced.

Meatpackers have processed 1.738 million hogs this week, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier, and the price of hogs for immediate delivery to slaughter plants has dropped for 19 straight sessions, the longest slide since at least April 2003, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

“The sheer numbers are just overwhelming,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “You’re putting so much more pork” on the market, he said.

Hog futures for October settlement declined 0.6 percent to settle at 71.35 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price touched 70.375 cents, the lowest since Nov. 10, 2010. The commodity lost 3.8 percent this week, extending this year’s decline top 15 percent.

A summer drought scorched Midwest corn fields, sending the price of the main ingredient in livestock feed to a record in August and spurring farmers to send more animals to slaughter after costs surged.

As of yesterday, spot hogs tumbled 26 percent to 66.4 cents a pound since Aug. 8.

Cattle futures for October delivery rose 0.3 percent to settle at $1.26475 a pound. The price has climbed 4.1 percent this year.

Beef-export sales totaled 18,236 metric tons (40.2 million pounds) in the week ended Aug. 30, up 12 percent from the four-week average, government data showed today. The figures were “pretty good” and are supporting prices, Schultz said.

Feeder-cattle futures for October settlement fell 0.1 percent to settle at $1.46125 a pound.

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