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Hog market futures rise as export sales data comes in

US livestock futures strengthened on 4 March as financial market gains fuelled a recovery from last week's contract lows.

5 March 2020, at 9:47am

According to reporting from Reuters, CME lean hog futures have firmed, with the most-active April contract finishing 0.750 cent higher at 64.300 cents per pound. June hog futures rose 0.750 cent to 78.825 cents.

Traders were waiting for the US Department of Agriculture to issue weekly export sales data on Thursday. They will look in particular for demand from China, the world's top pork importer, which is grappling with a fatal pig disease that has decimated its herd.

"We've been shipping a lot of pork to China and want that to continue," a broker said.

The coronavirus outbreak clouded the outlook for Chinese demand, after Beijing pledged to buy more American farm goods as part of an initial trade deal signed in January. US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Congress he was hopeful China would follow through on its promises, despite challenges from coronavirus.

"The signals are they want to comply," Perdue said.

Cash cutout prices were $0.31 per cwt lower for hog carcasses and $4.38 lower for hams, the US Department of Agriculture said. Prices were higher for loins, butts, ribs and bellies.

Meat packers slaughtered an estimated 495,000 hogs on Wednesday, unchanged from a week earlier and up from 475,000 hogs a year ago, according to the USDA.

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