U.S. livestock: Hog futures extend rally as African swine fever spreads

june lean hogs
CME June 2019 lean hogs with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures rose on Thursday for the third day in a row, supported by expectations that the spread of deadly African swine fever in China would boost demand from the world’s top pork buyer.

The most-active June hogs contract closed up three cents, the daily trading limit. June hogs have risen 12.5 per cent during the past three days.

Rising hopes for a trade deal with China also raised expectations that China would turn to the United States to satisfy its import needs.

China’s agriculture ministry reported two new outbreaks of the African swine fever on Friday, one in the southwestern province of Yunnan and one in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang.

The expiring CME April lean hogs contract ended up 0.5 cent at 79.575 cents/lb. (all figures US$). May hogs were 2.425 cents higher at 90.825 cents and June hogs rose three cents to close at 97.85 cents.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that trade talks with China were going well and he would only accept a “great” deal as negotiators hammered out differences ahead of a meeting between Trump and China’s vice-premier later in the day.

Cattle futures also were higher, with traders citing concerns about forecasts for snow in some key production areas of the U.S. Midwest as reasons for the gains. The storm could stress animals in parts of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.

April live cattle futures were 1.775 cents higher at 127.55 cents/lb. while the actively traded June contract gained 2.575 cents to 121.575 cents.

April feeder cattle futures were up 1.575 cents at 146.325 cents/lb. while May feeders rose 2.8 cents at 150.075.

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Thursday morning said that weekly export sales of pork totaled 10,800 tonnes. Beef export sales were 20,400 tonnes.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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