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U.S. hog herd dips slightly, with record pigs per litter

The U.S. hog herd held declined slightly in the latest quarter compared to a year earlier, and fell just short of average trade forecasts, a U.S. government report showed on Friday.

The data showed producers held a record number of pigs per litter during the period at 10.16 head, up marginally compared with last autumn’s record of 10.15 head.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures could open at least 0.5 to 0.75 cent higher on Monday based on Friday’s report, as most of the data for the three major categories were slightly below expectations, analysts said.

USDA showed the U.S. hog herd as of Dec. 1 at 99 per cent of a year ago at 65.94 million head. Analysts, on average, expected 66.307 million head, or 99.9 per cent of a year earlier. The U.S. hog herd for the same period last year was 66.374 million head.

The U.S. breeding herd was 99 per cent of a year earlier at 5.757 million head, compared with average trade expectations for 101 per cent, or 5.875 million. A year ago the breeding herd was 5.819 million head.

The Dec. 1 supply of market-ready hogs was 99 per cent of a year earlier at 60.183 million head. Analysts, on average, expected a 0.2 per cent decline, or 60.435 million. Last autumn’s market hog supply was 60.555 million.

— Theopolis Waters reports on livestock futures markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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