Hog Futures Rise on Higher Belly Prices

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Hog futures climbed just shy of a year-high on Tuesday as strong demand for pork helped push prices upward.

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A pound of wholesale pork rose 3.15 cents to 98.79 cents a pound as of Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pork bellies, which have been volatile this year due to tight supplies, jumped 11.12 cents to $1.8406 a pound.

Rising pork prices have allowed meatpackers to pay for hogs in the cash trade, which has in turn strengthened the futures market as traders bet demand will continue strong going into the summer. Supply of market-ready hogs has recently tightened up, analysts say.

Lean hog futures for July delivery rose 1.3% to 85 cents a pound on Tuesday, the highest close since June 21 last year.

An opposing trend has pressured cattle futures, however, as supply grows and beef prices sink going into the summer.

CME June live cattle futures recovered from selling pressure early Tuesday to close up 0.3% to $1.2035 a pound. Later-month contracts were lower.

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Meatpacker JBS said on Tuesday morning it wanted to sell its American cattle feedlots. Its Five Rivers subsidy is the U.S.'s largest.

Contracts for feeder cattle, younger herds that need to be fattened before slaughter, fell to a month low after the announcement as traders bet that would disrupt the U.S. trade. But futures regained some ground, with CME August contracts closing 0.7% lower at $1.43925 a pound.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 20, 2017 15:27 ET (19:27 GMT)