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CME update: hog futures sag as slaughter rebounds

Nearby US lean hog futures hit a six-week low on 3 June as the slaughter pace recovers.

4 June 2020, at 8:47am

Reuters reports that the ramped up pace has generated pork supplies, pressuring wholesale prices and packer margins.

CME June lean hogs ended down their daily limit of 3.750 cents, at 48.650 cents per pound, while most-active July futures settled down 1.400 cents at 53.475 cents after dipping to 53.350, the contract's lowest since 24 April.

The 3 June US hog slaughter totalled 429,000 head. This is the highest level since mid-April, when coronavirus outbreaks among workers at pork processing plants forced many to close temporarily, restricting the supply of pork.

The US pork cut-out, an indication of wholesale prices, was down 27 cents at midmorning at $74.10 per cwt, the USDA said. The USDA updated the cutout later on Wednesday to $75.01 per cwt, a net increase of 64 cents for the day, but the value was still down from roughly $90 per cwt last week.

Traders awaited the USDA's weekly export sales report on Thursday to see whether China, the world's top pork consumer, purchased expected amounts of US pork in the week that ended 28 May. The Agriculture Department reported weekly US pork sales to China as averaging over 23,000 tonnes from early March through the month of April. However, net sales in the first three weeks of May were a negative 417 tonnes.

"There is not a lot of good news out there [with)] these worries about export demand, and the wholesale market not holding together. And we still have a lot of hogs in the pipeline," said Altin Kalo, agricultural economist for Steiner Consulting.

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