Hogs Rally on Shrinking Pork Supplies; Cattle Steady

Hog futures rose to the highest in almost two weeks on signs of shrinking U.S. pork supplies and the outlook for increasing demand. Cattle prices fell.

Hog carcasses averaged 276.5 pounds (125.4 kilograms) in the Iowa and southern Minnesota area in the week ended April 13, down 0.3 percent from a week earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Consumers tend to boost meat purchases for outdoor grilling as temperatures rise around this time of year.

“The weights actually came down, and that’s providing some support,” Lou Arens, a broker at PCI Advisory Services in Waucoma, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “It’s getting into grilling season, and we need to push these futures a little bit higher.”

Hog futures for June settlement added 0.3 percent to close at 90.6 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Earlier, the price reached 91 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since April 5. The commodity has climbed 5.7 percent this year.

Cattle futures for June delivery fell 0.4 percent to settle at $1.21375 a pound. Earlier, the price touched $1.22225, the highest since April 9.

“Our demand has been a little bit sluggish,” Lane Broadbent, a vice president at KIS Futures Inc. in Oklahoma City, said in a telephone interview. “We’ve not done a really good job of marketing cattle.”

U.S. producers probably sold about 1.801 million fattened cattle to slaughterhouses last month, down 6.1 percent from March 2012, according to the average of 13 analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The USDA will release inventory figures tomorrow in Washington.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement slid 0.2 percent to $1.47175 a pound.

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