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Hog Futurs Fall to Two-Month Low as U.S. Pork Demand Ebbs

Hog futures slumped to a two-month low on signs of waning demand for U.S. pork. Cattle prices rebounded from the cheapest since November.

Wholesale pork slumped 3.2 percent to 79.96 cents a pound yesterday, the biggest drop since Aug. 22, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Meatpackers processed 1.68 million hogs in the first four days of this week, down 0.2 percent from a year earlier.

“They’re obviously having trouble moving retail pork,” Dick Quiter, an account executive at McFarland Commodities LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview

Hog futures for April settlement declined 1.7 percent to close at 84.325 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest drop since Jan. 9. Earlier, the price reached 84.05 cents, the lowest for the most-active contract since Dec. 12.

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.3 percent to $1.29775 a pound. Earlier, the price slumped as much as 1.4 percent to $1.276, the lowest since Nov. 12.

U.S. beef output will decline to an eight-year low in 2013, and per-capita supplies will be the smallest since at least 1970, the government has projected. Cattle futures may rally to a record $1.3925 this year, up 7.3 percent from today’s close, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of five analysts.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement rose 0.9 percent to $1.42675 a pound, ending a nine-session slump. Earlier, the commodity touched $1.39175, the lowest since July 31.

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