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Hogs Increase on Signs of Rising Demand for Pork; Cattle Slide

Hog futures climbed for the first time in three sessions on speculation that lower pork prices will encourage U.S. consumers to favor the meat over more costly beef. Cattle dropped from a record.

Wholesale pork prices slumped 3.9 percent last week to 81.72 cents a pound, the biggest slide since Nov. 16, while wholesale beef added 0.9 percent to $1.9469 a pound, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Cattle futures jumped 13 percent in the past six months as supplies tightened, reaching record highs the past three sessions.

“If the cattle can continue to move higher, eventually that should spell at least better demand in the pork sector down the road,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co., said in a telephone interview from Minneapolis.

Hog futures for February settlement increased 0.6 percent to settle at 85.275 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after earlier climbing as much as 1.7 percent. Prices are up 1.2 percent this year.

Cattle futures for February delivery fell 0.4 percent to close at $1.3295 a pound, after reaching $1.3405, the highest ever for the most-active contract. Prices are up 9.5 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement declined 1.3 percent to $1.522 a pound on the CME.

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