CME hog futures recover after 'complete downhill slide'
By Tom Polansek
CHICAGO, March 24 (Reuters) -Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures ended higher on Friday as the market recovered after sliding to life-of-contract lows this week.
The market was due for a bounce as losses were overdone, brokers said.
"We've been on just about a complete downhill slide," said Karl Setzer, brokerage research lead at Mid-Co Commodities. "We saw some recovery ahead of the weekend."
Front-month April lean hogs LHJ3 settled up 1.425 cents at 77.175 cents per pound, after hitting a contract low of 75.125 cents on Thursday. The front-month contract LHc1 was still down 3% for the week and has lost nearly 12% in the past two weeks due to concerns about weak pork demand and cash prices.
June hogs LHM3 finished 2.050 cents higher at 91.425 cents per pound, after setting a contract low of 87.800 cents on Thursday.
Some traders adjusted positions before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issues a quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on March 30. In December, the agency reported the U.S. hog herd was down 2% from a year earlier at 73.1 million head.
Next week, traders will also examine USDA data due on March 31 on quarterly stocks of grain used for livestock feed. The agency will project U.S. crop plantings on the same day.
The USDA on Friday priced pork carcasses at $81.05 per hundredweight, up 75 cents. Ham cutout values jumped by $4.36 to $74.30 per hundredweight.
In the beef market, choice cuts of boxed beef dropped by $2.90 to $279.88 per hundredweight, while select cuts declined by 14 cents to $268.75 per hundredweight, the USDA said.
CME April live cattle LCJ3 settled up 0.850 cent at 163.000 cents per pound and touched its highest price since March 14. The contract rose 0.4% over the week.
June cattle LCM3 gained 0.800 cent to end at 156.600 cents.
CME April feeder cattle FCJ3 slipped 0.200 cent to close at 194.800 cents per pound. May feeders FCK3 fell 1.050 cents to 197.550 cents and finished down 1.2% for the week.
Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar
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