Hog Futures Decline on Signs of Slowing Pork Demand

Hog futures fell the most in a week on signs of slowing demand for U.S. pork. Cattle prices dropped from a one-week high.

Wholesale pork slumped 0.5 percent yesterday to 78.42 cents a pound, the fifth decline in six sessions, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Exporters shipped 423.12 million pounds (191,922 metric tons) of pork in January, down 16 percent from a year earlier, the latest government data show.

“The movement was pretty lethargic the last couple of weeks,” Mark Schultz, the chief analyst at Northstar Commodity Investment Co. in Minneapolis, said in a telephone interview. “We need some export demand to get back into some strength.”

Hog futures for June settlement slid 1.1 percent to close at 90.075 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest decline for the contract since March 5. The commodity has climbed 5.1 percent this year.

Pork prices in 36 Chinese cities monitored by the Ministry of Commerce dropped 1.5 percent in the week ended March 10. The country is the world’s biggest consumer of the meat.

Cattle futures for April delivery dropped 0.1 percent to $1.2855 a pound in Chicago. Earlier, the price reached $1.2945, the highest for the most-active contract since March 6.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement rose 0.3 percent to close at $1.4445 a pound.

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