Cattle, Hog Futures Rise on Strong Meat Markets

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Livestock futures bounced higher, buoyed by rising cash and meat prices.

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Hog futures have risen every day this week on expectations the market has hit a seasonal low. October lean hog contracts at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange climbed 1% to 60.925 cents a pound on Thursday, the highest close since mid-September.

The CME Lean Hog Index, which tracks the cash market, turned higher this week for the first time since July as meatpackers started to increase bids for slaughter-ready hogs. Prices for wholesale pork were also higher on Wednesday and again at midday Thursday.

Increasing slaughter numbers, larger herd sizes and rising pork weights contributed to a slump in the hog market through much of the summer. But traders are betting growing slaughter capacity and strong export demand for pork will help keep supplies in check.

Cattle futures rose too. Supply is also growing in that market, with slaughter, beef production and showlists of physical cattle all higher this week.

But expectations that cash prices would be steady attracted buyers to the futures market on Thursday.

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CME October live cattle contracts rose 1% to $1.1015 a pound, near a two-week high.

The week's cash trade was slow to get started, barring an online auction on Wednesday at which meatpackers paid steady prices from a week earlier. Analysts expect to see stable prices, however, as wide processing margins give packers the flexibility to raise their bids and secure supply.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 05, 2017 15:48 ET (19:48 GMT)