Hogs Drop Most in Three Weeks on Slow Pork Demand; Cattle Climb

Hog futures slumped the most in more than three weeks on speculation that demand for U.S. pork is slowing and supplies are increasing. Cattle prices rose.

Meatpackers processed 1.6 million hogs in the first four days of this week, down 1.7 percent from a week earlier, government data show. Yesterday, wholesale pork fell 0.2 percent to 87.72 cents a pound, the fourth decline in five sessions, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retailers may have filled meat orders for grilling demand for the Memorial Day holiday on May 27, according to U.S. Commodities Inc.

“If the packer slows the kill, the fear is the numbers are still there and you could add weight,” Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities, said in telephone interview from West Des Moines, Iowa. “There’s also a concern that the Memorial Day buying of pork might be coming to a halt.”

Hog futures for June settlement fell 1.3 percent to close at 90.575 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest slump for a most-active contract since April 15.

Memorial Day is the second-most-popular day for grilling, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. The Independence Day holiday on July 4 is No. 1.

Cattle futures for June delivery rose 0.3 percent to settle at $1.2055 a pound. Prices are up 3.4 percent in the past 12 months.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement advanced 0.4 percent to $1.45975 a pound.

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