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CME update: lean hog futures rise as meat production grows

US lean hog futures rose on 15 June as meat production ramps up.

16 June 2020, at 8:10am

Reuters reports that CME July lean hog futures, the most actively traded contract, rose 0.600 cent to 52.275 cents per pound. August futures rose 0.625 cent to 55.275 cents.

"We're still dealing with cash discounts in the livestock futures markets, as the cash market continues to be under pressure as slaughter rates are picking up," said Don Roose, president of US Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Pork output has been improving as slaughterhouses have resumed operations, after closing temporarily in April and May due to outbreaks of the new coronavirus among plant workers.

Monday's hog kill improved, with USDA estimating that packers slaughtered an estimated 457,000 head - up from 445,000 head a week earlier - but was still down nearly 3.6 percent over last year.

That kill rate is expected to continue to increase as plants try to run over-capacity in the coming weeks, in order to keep production at full speed, market analysts said.

But meatpacking workers have often been absent, because they are quarantined or afraid to return to work after a severe coronavirus outbreak. Nationwide, 30 percent to 50 percent of meatpacking employees were absent last week, said Mark Lauritsen, a vice president at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).

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