Hogs Climb to Highest Since July as Demand Gains; Cattle Decline

Hog futures rallied to an eight-month high on signs of improving demand after U.S. pork prices tumbled. Cattle fell.

Wholesale-pork prices that reached a six-month low on March 20 have since rallied 2 percent to 77.96 cents a pound yesterday, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Spot hogs added 2.6 percent to 70.86 cents a pound yesterday, the biggest increase since Feb. 5, paring this year’s decline to 12 percent, government data show.

“Everything’s been depressed for so long, it’s finally to the point where it’s going to turn the corner,” Lou Arens, a broker at PCI Advisory Services in Waucoma, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “We’re getting into that time of year where you’re going to see a lot more grilling featured in the grocery stores, and you’re going to see a lot more domestic demand.”

Hog futures for June settlement advanced 0.3 percent to close at 91.075 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after reaching 91.6 cents, the highest for the most-active futures since July 9. Prices have gained for five straight sessions, the longest rally since June, and are up 6.2 percent this year. Today’s high was the most since March 8 for the June contract, which became the pricing benchmark two weeks ago.

Cattle futures for June delivery slipped 0.3 percent to close at $1.2115 a pound in Chicago. Prices have fallen 8.4 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for May settlement dropped less than 0.1 percent to $1.40475 a pound on the CME.

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