July 3, 2017 / 6:48 PM / 7 months ago

LIVESTOCK-U.S. hogs rise on pork gains; feeder cattle ease

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, July 3 (Reuters) - U.S. lean hog futures        
climbed to fresh life-of-contract highs on Monday, gaining on
bear-spreading as wholesale pork prices reached the highest
levels in more than two years.
    Dealers continued to buy back Chicago Mercantile Exchange
July hog contracts        and roll positions into deferred
months such as most-active August hog futures       , traders
and analysts said.
    July, August, December        and other back months all
reached lifetime peaks. July hog futures settled up 0.075 cent
at 90.700 cents per pound and August up 0.650 at 84.400 cents.
    Strong demand for pork has propped up prices for cash hogs
and hog futures, despite a record-large U.S. hog herd. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture at midday said the wholesale pork
cutout was up $1.30 to $104.22 per cwt, highest since October
2014, led by firmer prices for pork bellies, loins and butts.
    "The product is really solid, very impressive," Archer
Financial Services broker Dennis Smith said of wholesale pork.
    Prices for pork and beef generally ease as retailers wrap up
meat purchases in advance of the U.S. Independence Day holiday
on July 4. Retailers stock their stores to satisfy consumer
demand for hot dogs and burgers to cook on outdoor grills.
    The higher pork prices so far this week suggested that
demand could remain robust even after the Fourth of July peak of
summer grilling season.
    USDA showed wholesale choice-grade beef prices down $1.16 to
$223.57 per cwt, with beef values extending losses after
reaching a multiyear high in mid-June.
    Cattle futures were mostly lower, pressured by technical
selling and as rising corn futures       stoked fears of higher
feed prices for cattle feedlots.
    Feeder cattle futures, which reflect prices that feedlots
buy cattle to fatten mostly on corn, fell sharply as Chicago
Board of Trade corn rallied.
    CME August feeder cattle        finished 1.825 cents lower
at 146.100 cents per pound while CME August live cattle       
were down 0.550 cent to 115.750 cents per pound.
    "There's nothing major brewing in cattle versus last Friday,
so I assume this rally in corn has upset some in the trade,"
Smith said. 

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Tom Brown)
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