June 28, 2018 / 9:16 PM / 10 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Hog futures higher on spreading; USDA shows bigger U.S. herd

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, June 28 (Reuters) - U.S. lean hog futures        
were narrowly higher in bull-spreading on Thursday as some
investors exited positions in nearby contract months ahead of a
quarterly government supply report that was released after the
close of trading.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture in the report said the
U.S. hog herd as of June 1 totaled 73.451 million, up 3 percent
from a year ago and the largest for the time period tracked by
the government since 1964.             
    While the data was generally in line with analyst
expectations, confirmation of a record-large hog herd could
weigh on hog futures in the coming days, analysts said.
    "Nothing in this report shows signs of hope that we are
going to get a rally out of this," said Top Third Ag Marketing
analyst Craig VanDyke.
    However, robust pork demand has bolstered prices for hogs
and pork despite the larger U.S. herd and the threat of reduced
exports amid tariffs on U.S. imports in Mexico and China.
    "The good news is that pork exports have been good this year
and we continue to kill a good amount. The market has done a
good job holding up in the face of fantastic supply," VanDyke
    Front-month Chicago Mercantile Exchange July lean hog
futures        settled up 0.900 cent to 81.125 cents per pound
and most-active August hogs        up 0.675 cent to 75.725
    Prices for wholesale pork and hogs in the top cash market in
Iowa and southern Minnesota each were higher, USDA data said.
    Cattle futures also gained in bull-spreading as traders
bought back nearby months and rolled into deferred contracts.
    Thinly traded CME June live cattle        finished up 1.175
cents to 108.200 cents per pound, one day before the contract's
expiration on Friday. Most-active August live cattle       
notched comparatively smaller gains, climbing 1.000 cent to
103.725 cents.
    CME August feeder cattle        firmed 1.050 cents to
146.825 cents per pound, rising on technical buying after the
contract surpassed several moving averages during the previous
    USDA said choice-grade wholesale beef prices were down $2.06
to $213.24 per cwt.           
    Retailers have already bought the vast majority of the beef
and pork they would put on sale for next week's U.S.
Independence Day holiday, when many consumers cook meat on
outdoor grills. Now, more muted retailer demand and forecasts
for hot U.S. temperatures that could limit outdoor grilling was
likely weighing on beef prices, analysts said. 

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer
Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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