Hogs Drop on Bets U.S. Pork Demand Wanes; Cattle Decline

Hog futures fell to the lowest in more than a week on speculation that U.S. demand for pork is ebbing. Cattle prices also dropped.

Cash hogs rose 0.9 percent today to 87.09 cents a pound, the highest since Aug. 9, and wholesale pork fell 0.5 percent yesterday to 85.04 cents a pound, a one-week low, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Margins for meatpackers aren’t attractive, said Christian Mayer, a market adviser at Northstar Commodity Investments Co.

“I just don’t think it has enough bullish momentum to work higher,” Mayer said in a telephone interview from Minneapolis. “From the bearish side, you could question even some domestic demand.”

Hog futures for April settlement fell 0.7 percent to close at 88.75 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price touched 88.625, the lowest for the most-active contract since Jan. 24. The commodity dropped 0.2 percent this week.

Cattle futures for April delivery declined 0.5 percent to $1.32175 a pound. This week, the price gained 1.1 percent, the second straight gain.

After the settlement, the USDA reported that the cattle herd as of Jan. 1 fell to the lowest in 61 years after the most-severe drought since the 1930s reduced livestock-feed supplies and destroyed pastures.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement slid 0.2 percent to $1.492 a pound. This week, the prices gained 0.8 percent. In January, the commodity tumbled 3.1 percent, the most since July.

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