By Theopolis Waters
CHICAGO, April 4 Chicago Mercantile Exchange
lean hog futures fell to their lowest level since early
December on Tuesday, with ample supplies dragging down cash
prices for a ninth straight session, said traders.
April hogs ended 1.125 cents per pound lower at
63.675 cents, and May closed down 1.225 cents to 68.175
Tuesday morning's average cash hog price in Iowa/Minnesota
at $61.81 per cwt fell 43 cents from Monday, according to the
U.S. Department of Agriculture.
USDA estimated Monday and Tuesday's total combined hog
slaughter at 887,000 head, 16,000 more than a year ago.
Hogs are more plentiful as moderating spring temperatures
in the U.S. Midwest allow pigs to quickly put on weight.
Fewer hogs are needed by processors that plan to cut
Saturday slaughters to underpin their margins. Packing plants
will also shutdown during the Easter holiday.
The prospect of decreased meat supplies resulting from
reduced plant operations may have triggered retail meat buying,
said traders and analysts.
U.S. government data on Tuesday morning showed the average
U.S. wholesale pork price at $77.30 per cwt, $1.41 higher than
LOWER CATTLE FUTURES CLOSE
Sell stops and technical selling sent CME live cattle
futures lower, said traders.
They said softer cash price expectations for this week
discouraged futures buyers.
April live cattle closed 1.200 cents per pound lower
at 118.225 cents, and June ended down 1.400 cents to
Both contracts settled below their respective 20-day moving
average of 119.315 and 109.987 cents.
Last week the bulk of market-ready, or cash, cattle in the
U.S. Plains moved at $128 to $130 per cwt.
Significantly more cattle for sale than last week, and ample
supplies of animals contracted against the futures market, may
pressure this week's cash prices, said traders and analysts.
Although the recent downturn in beef cutout values might
have generated retail buying on Tuesday, beef demand tends to
decrease in early April, said traders.
Beef demand will resume its downtrend, taking cash and
futures down along with it, said Archer Financial Services
broker Dennis Smith.
Tuesday morning's average wholesale beef price, or cutout,
jumped $1.30 per cwt from Monday to $214.73. Select cuts climbed
$1.61 to $202.96, the USDA said.
Invertors await Wednesday's Fed Cattle Exchange sale of
about 3,500 animals for cash price direction.
Sell stops and live cattle futures selling sent CME feeder
April feeder cattle closed 2.050 cents per pound
lower at 131.025 cents.
(Reporting by Theopolis Waters; editing by Diane Craft)