Hog, Pork Supplies Squeeze Futures

By Benjamin ParkinFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Hog futures fell on Tuesday as lower pork and physical pig prices weighed down the market.

Cash prices for slaughter-ready hogs have fallen through much of December as large average hog weights allowed meatpackers to lower their bids. Cash prices on Monday fell 8 cents to $56.05 per 100 pounds, and were expected steady to lower again on Tuesday.

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Pork prices, meanwhile, have fallen in recent days. Demand dropped off after retailers stocked their shelves ahead of the holiday period, analysts said. Wholesale pork fell $1.71 to $75.86 per 100 pounds on Monday, though prices were higher as of midday Tuesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture was due to update market participants on fourth-quarter hog-and-pig supplies on Friday. Analysts expect to see continued herd growth, with many forecasting ongoing expansion into next year.

February-dated lean hog futures fell 0.7% to 66.9 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Cattle futures were steady to lower, with a similarly strained supply outlook. CME December live cattle futures were unchanged at $1.20 a pound while later months fell.

In a separate report due Friday, the USDA will outline supplies of cattle being fattened in feedlots in November for slaughter.

Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the total number of cattle on-feed as of December 1 to rise 6.7% from a year earlier, with cattle placed in lots for fattening in November up 5.8%. They expect cattle marketed, or sent to slaughterhouses, to rise 3.2% in November from the same time last year.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 19, 2017 15:50 ET (20:50 GMT)