Hog Futures Sell Off Amid Nafta Jitters

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Hog futures tumbled on Thursday on concerns about the North American Free Trade Agreement and technical weakness.

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February-dated lean hog contracts fell 2.1% to 70.975 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, dropping from a recent multimonth high. Analysts said that the contract struggled to stay above 73.5 cents, which indicated to some traders that prices were headed lower.

Canada filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over tariffs employed by the Trump administration, only weeks before scheduled talks over Nafta. The complaint was made public on Wednesday.

Some analysts said the move was part of a high-stakes game that could destabilize markets for goods like U.S. hogs, which depend on trade within North America. Mexico and Canada are the second and third largest destinations for U.S. pork exports after Hong Kong/China, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

The underlying cash market for physical hogs continued to strengthen, however, though that did little to bolster futures. Cash prices rose almost $2 on Wednesday to $69.51 per 100 pounds, marking 12 consecutive days of gains, and were on track to rise again on Thursday.

Cattle futures inched higher, stabilizing after several sessions of losses. Analysts say prices fell low enough to attract some buying interest.

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CME February live cattle contracts rose 0.2% to $1.17075 a pound.

Paul Vieira contributed to this article.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 11, 2018 15:26 ET (20:26 GMT)