Hog Futures Slump Amid Falling U.S. Pork Demand; Cattle Steady

Hog futures declined for the third straight day on signs that U.S. pork demand is slowing, while lower feed costs are encouraging producers to boost animal weights. Cattle prices traded little changed.

Wholesale pork fell 3.2 percent to 92.19 cents a pound yesterday, and are down 17 percent from this year’s high on June 26, U.S. Department of Agriculture date show. Average hog-carcass weights climbed 2.3 percent through yesterday in the past 12 months, according to the USDA. The price of corn, the main ingredient in livestock feed, has slumped 39 percent this year on the outlook for a record crop.

“Input costs are reasonable, like corn, and we have added record weights to the hogs,” Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. “It’s profitable for the producer to add extra weight.”

Hog futures for February settlement fell 1.1 percent to close at 89.8 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped 1.6 percent in the previous two days.

Cattle futures for February delivery gained less than 0.1 percent to $1.34525 a pound on the CME. The most-active contract has risen 1.7 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for January settlement added 0.3 percent to $1.652 a pound.

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