Livestock and meat futures prices advanced strongly Thursday, with pork bellies up the limit allowed for daily trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
On other markets, energy futures were mostly higher, grains and soybeans were mixed and gold was a little higher while silver declined. It was the second day in a row that bellies posted gains as high as the 2 cents-a-pound limit.
"The first hour of trading was the most active we've seen in months," said Philip Stanley, an analyst in Chicago with Thomson McKinnon Securities Inc. The three nearby deliveries finished the day lock limit up.
Better cash belly prices were a help, he said, but much of the support came from fears about short deliverable supplies against the nearby contracts. March bellies expire on Tuesday and "there are very tight stocks for delivery" against that contract, said Stanley.
Cash hogs also were strong, "moving to a level that is a surprise to everyone in the trade," he said.