Hogs Rise Ahead of Cold Storage Report, Cattle Slump

By Julie Wernau Features Dow Jones Newswires

Lean hog futures found their footing Monday ahead of a monthly report of commodity supplies in cold storage warehouses across the country.

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The report is scheduled to be released at 3 p.m. ET by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has become an increasingly important indicator of demand for pork products as record high production is matched with strong pricing for pork products.

CME lean hogs for May rose 2.2% to end at 64.4 cents a pound.

The USDA estimated hog slaughter came at 443,000 head Friday and 216,000 head for Saturday, bringing last week's total to 2.287 million head, up from 2.223 million the previous week and up 2.4% from last year.

Traders said they expect that the cold storage report could provide a boost to cash prices for hogs, which have been throttled for 22 straight days and were steady to 50c lower again Monday.

The beaten-down hog market combined with firm pork prices has allowed pork packers to enjoy a highly profitable season.

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"The timing is right now for a seasonal low. I've been telling clients to expect a turnaround around the cold storage report today," said Dennis Smith of Archer Financial Services.

The cattle markets fell Monday with CME live cattle futures for April down 0.6% at $1.29 a pound at the close.

The market was trading on last week's report of cattle on feed, which came in higher than expected with placements during March at 111.1% versus trade expectations at 106.5%, according to the Hueber Report. Those cattle could be on the market this summer, boosting supplies.

Write to Julie Wernau at julie.wernau@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 24, 2017 15:10 ET (19:10 GMT)