Hog futures jumped the most in three weeks amid speculation that U.S. pork demand is improving, spurring meatpackers to buy more animals. Cattle prices increased.
Pork processors slaughtered 1.31 million animals this week, up 4.7 percent from a week earlier and 1.3 percent more than a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Hog carcass weights declined for the third straight day to 211.1 pounds (95.76 kilograms), according to the USDA.
“Pork demand is holding up pretty well,” Dan Vaught, an economist at Doane Advisory Services in St. Louis, said in a telephone interview. “The thought that we were going to get swamped with fat hogs was wrong.”
Hog futures for February settlement climbed 1.1 percent to close at 90.925 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest gain for the contract since Oct. 28.
Cattle futures for February delivery rose 0.2 percent to $1.3195 a pound on the CME. Prices tumbled 2.3 percent the previous two days.
Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement gained 0.2 percent to $1.6275 a pound.