LIVESTOCK-CME lean hogs drop to January low on US demand concerns

Band Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, May 11 (Reuters)CME Group lean hog futures fell to their lowest prices since January on Wednesday amid concerns over U.S. pork demand, analysts said.

Inflation and falling U.S. pork exports to China, the world’s biggest consumer of pork, are hurting demand, analysts said. The consumer price index rose 8.3% in the 12 months to April, according to the Labor Department.

The size of the U.S. hog herd has shrunk over the past year as farmers grapple with swine diseases and high feed prices. Some producers kept pigs longer on farms to add weight and improve profits, analysts said.

Heavier pigs could increase pork production.

Hogs averaged 288.9 pounds in a region that includes Iowa, southern Minnesota and South Dakota during the week ended May 7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said. That was up from 288.5 pounds a week earlier and 283.9 pounds a year ago.

The USDA separately said U.S. wholesale pork cut values ​​were generally lower, with carcass value down $0.70 per hundredweight (cwt).

Benchmark CME June lean pigs LHM2 ended down 0.725 cents at 100.850 cents a pound. July Pigs NHL2 fell 1.425 cents to close at 101.550 cents per pound.

Feeder cattle futures also fell at the CME, while live cattle futures rose.

June Live Cattle Futures Contracts LCM2 settled 1.175 cents higher at 133.575 cents a pound. August Feeder Cattle FCQ2 fell 1.850 cents to 170 cents a pound and hit its lowest price since April 29.

Rising grain prices used for animal feed have helped put pressure on feeder cattle, traders said. On Thursday, traders will examine a monthly global supply and demand report from the US Department of Agriculture. GR/

(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Devika Syamnath)


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