Hog Futures Rebound on U.S. Pork-Demand Outlook; Cattle Advance

Hog futures rose for the first time in a week on improved prospects for U.S. pork demand. Cattle prices also advanced.

Wholesale pork rose 1.3 percent to 82.39 cents a pound on Dec. 31, the biggest increase since Dec. 18, government data show. Prices fell 3.3 percent in 2012, while wholesale beef slipped 0.3 percent to $1.9415 a pound. Meatpackers processed 430,000 hogs today, up 2.4 percent than a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

“There’s some export potential out there, and when you look at pork compared to beef, it’s relatively cheap,” Chad Henderson, the president of Prime Agricultural Consultants Inc. in Brookfield, Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview. “The hog market in particular could be pretty decent.”

Hog futures for February settlement rose 0.5 percent to close at 86.175 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The gain reflects a “bounce back from probably overdone losses,” after hogs tumbled 2.1 percent over a four-session slump since Dec. 24, Henderson said.

Prices rose 1.7 percent in 2012, the fifth straight increase and the longest rally since at least 1987, according to exchange data compiled by Bloomberg. The exchange began trading hog futures in February 1966.

Cattle futures for February delivery added 0.1 percent to close at $1.32375 a pound on the CME. Prices climbed 8.9 percent in 2012, the fourth straight gain and a record rally.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement fell 0.2 percent to $1.539 a pound.

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