CHICAGO — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures fell 2.9 percent to their lowest level in nearly three weeks on Tuesday, with concerns about demand from top buyers in focus amid a record-large supply in the United States, traders said.
The market shrugged off a U.S. Agriculture Department report from last week that showed large pork purchases by China and Mexico.
Tariffs on U.S. exports to both of those countries and few signs of a resolution to trade spats in the near future continued to hang over the market, said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
“One week does not make a market,” Roose said. “We have seen them buy it and cancel it before. The large supplies are overwhelming the export pace.”
CME June lean hogs closed down 2.45 cents at 83.975 cents per pound while actively traded July hogs ended 2.25 cents lower at 85.7 cents.
The front-month contract on Tuesday hit its lowest level since May 8.
Live cattle futures were narrowly mixed.
June live cattle rose 0.375 cent to 111.55 cents per pound, and actively traded August eased 0.175 cent to 107.775 cents.
August feeder cattle finished down 1.000 cent at 142.225 cents per pound and September feeders fell 1.200 cents to 142.675 cents.
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The USDA on Friday afternoon said that all cattle on feed as of May 1 were 102.2 percent of the year-ago total. Analysts had been expecting 102.9 percent.
April placements were 108.7 percent compared to trade estimates for 113 percent, and marketings were 106.9 percent compared to traded estimates for 106.6 percent.
Like the hog markets, concerns about export demand kept a lid on any potential buying opportunities stemming from a supportive report, Roose said.
Domestic demand for both pork and beef has been weak due to rainy weather that has limited opportunities for outdoor grilling. The unofficial kickoff to summer grilling, Memorial Day weekend, was marred by storms across much of the United States. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub Editing by Leslie Adler)