U.S. livestock: Hogs drop on weaker pork, falling prices in China

Live cattle down with cash beef prices; feeder cattle up as corn eases

CME August 2021 lean hogs (candlesticks) with 20- and 50-day moving averages (pink and brown lines) and August 2021 live cattle (red line). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. lean hog futures fell sharply on Monday, continuing a retreat from multi-year highs set earlier this month as cash pork prices dropped and worries increased about Chinese import demand for U.S. pork.

Technical selling and profit-taking have sped the multi-session decline after the actively traded Chicago Mercantile Exchange August lean hog contract appeared to peak on June 7.

U.S. pork export sales have also slowed somewhat in recent weeks, including to major importer China, where live hog prices are down 65 per cent so far this year amid rising domestic production and a surge in pork import arrivals.

“It’s pretty hard for our hog market to keep putting in new highs when the Chinese hogs keep putting in new lows. That’s the second-biggest buyer of our pork in the world,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

The wholesale U.S. pork carcass cutout price is down more than 10 per cent over the past two weeks, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

CME July hogs settled down 1.625 cents at 107.05 cents/lb. and actively traded August hogs ended down the three-cent daily limit at 103.675 cents, triggering an expanded 4.5-cent limit for trading on Tuesday (all figures US$).

CME live cattle futures weakened on Monday on slowing beef demand and lower cash beef prices. Feeder cattle futures, however, edged higher as corn prices eased.

USDA quoted the choice boxed beef cutout value down $2.08 on Monday at $321.20/cwt and the select cutout down $2.15 at $281.46/cwt.

August live cattle futures settled 0.525 cent lower at 121.025 cents/lb. CME August feeder cattle ended up 0.075 cent at 155.1 cents/lb.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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