U.S. livestock: CME lean hog futures rise from February low

December live cattle close lower

CME December 2021 lean hogs (candlesticks) with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages (pink, brown and dark red lines). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures climbed on Thursday, as the market recovered from a decline to its lowest prices since February.

Technical buying helped support prices, while concerns about waning U.S. pork exports continue to hang over the market, analysts said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 2021 export sales of 25,300 tonnes in the week ended Sept. 9, down 25 per cent from the previous week and nine per cent from the prior four-week average.

Weekly sales to China, the world’s biggest pork producer and consumer, were 1,840 tonnes, down from 14,953 tonnes a week earlier.

“China was listed as a buyer of both beef and pork, but the volumes were minimal,” said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst for AgriVisor.

Most-active CME December hogs touched their lowest price since Feb. 19 at 71.275 cents/lb., before ending up 2.2 cents at 74.45 cents/lb. (all figures US$).

October lean hog futures ended up 3.2 cents at 85.475 cents/lb. after falling on Tuesday to its lowest price since March 4.

In China, hog prices have tumbled on increased supplies and over fears about fresh outbreaks of the pig disease African swine fever. The decline has discouraged Chinese buyers from buying more expensive U.S. pork, analysts said.

Another case of African swine fever was confirmed in a wild boar in the Uckermark region in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, according to the Brandenburg state health ministry.

China and other pork buyers blocked imports of German pork in September 2020 after Germany’s first case.

In the U.S. beef market, weekly net export sales of 15,300 tonnes for 2021 were up 23 per cent from the previous week and 24 per cent from the prior four-week average, according to USDA.

CME December live cattle closed down 0.875 cent at 128.575 cents/lb. November feeder cattle slumped 0.275 cent to close at 157.3 cents.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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