Hogs Rally to Six-Week High as Pork Demand Gains; Cattle Steady

Hog futures climbed to a six-week high on signs that demand for U.S. pork is increasing. Cattle prices were little changed.

Wholesale pork advanced 0.5 percent last week to 83.9 cents a pound, the highest since Dec. 11, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Meatpackers processed 2.284 million hogs last week, up 16 percent from the previous week and 3 percent higher than a year earlier, according to the USDA. About 431,000 hogs were slaughtered today, up 17 percent from the same period a year earlier, government figures show.

“We’ve seen product values kind of holding in there for the last few days,” Lou Arens, a broker at PCI Advisory Services, said in a telephone interview from Waucoma, Iowa. “As long as those prices can keep with it, that’s going to rally these futures.”

Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.8 percent to close at 87.85 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching 87.975, the highest for the most-active contract since Nov. 29.

Cattle futures for April delivery climbed 0.1 percent to settle at $1.3475 a pound on the CME. The most-active contract has gained 1.9 percent this month.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement slipped less than 0.1 percent to $1.51425 a pound in Chicago.

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