U.S. livestock: Hogs up, cattle firm on hopes for Mexico deal

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. hog and cattle futures rose on Friday, boosted by hopes that a trade agreement with Mexico will be finalized in the coming days, traders said.

Mexico’s economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Friday he hopes to conclude by the middle of next week outstanding bilateral issues with the U.S. surrounding the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Hog futures, which were trading with expanded limits after closing up three cents on Thursday, also received support from concerns about a possible outbreak of African swine flu in China that could increase their demand for overseas pork purchases (all figures US$).

Traders said that the worries about the Chinese pig herd sparked a round of short-covering by investment funds that did not want to leave bearish bets in the market if more flu cases are discovered.

Most active CME October hogs settled up 3.125 cents at 58.6 cents/lb. Prices peaked at their highest since July 9.

CME August live cattle futures ended 1.1 cents higher at 109.425 cents/lb. The most active October live cattle contract was up 1.6 cents at 110.875 cents.

CME August feeder cattle futures rose 0.5 cent to 150.775 cents/lb. and September feeders were 1.7 cents higher at 151.825 cents.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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