Hog Prices Drop From 10-Month High on Speculation Demand Slowing

Hog futures fell from a 10-month high on speculation that demand for U.S. pork is weakening. Cattle prices also declined.

Meatpackers processed 1.222 million hogs in the first three days of this week, down 0.7 percent from the same period a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Retailers have likely already made their meat purchases for the Memorial Day holiday on May 27, said Doug Houghton, a commodity analyst at Brock Associates.

“It’s going to take continued cash strength to keep the market going,” Houghton said in a telephone interview from Milwaukee. “With the pre-Memorial Day buying for the retailers dying down and the packer margins already negative, it’s a question of whether supplies will be tight enough to keep things going if the pork market slides a bit.”

Hog futures for June settlement declined 0.7 percent to close at 91.925 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after touching 93.5 cents, the highest for the most-active contract since July 9.

Wholesale-pork prices are up 18 percent since the end of March after yesterday reaching 90.91 cents a pound, the highest since Aug. 20, USDA data show. Spot hogs rose 0.9 percent to 89.74 cents a pound yesterday, government data show.

Cattle futures for August delivery slid 0.5 percent to settle at $1.1985 a pound in Chicago.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement dropped 0.8 percent to $1.453 a pound.

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