Pork futures advanced strongly on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Thursday, reflecting higher cash prices and tight supplies of hogs. On other markets, corn and soybean futures were sharply lower, oil futures were mostly higher and precious metals also rose.
The hog slaughter remains well below year-ago levels and cash prices continue to improve, said Philip Stanley, an analyst in Chicago with Thomson McKinnon Securities Inc.
Cash hogs reached the yearly high of $64.50 per hundredweight in Sioux City, Iowa, and generally higher cash prices are expected again on Friday, he said.
Wholesale pork also was attracting higher prices than expected.
Pork belly futures also put on a strong performance, with the July and August contracts advancing the 2 cents-a-pound limit for daily trading. The gain partly was determined by the low slaughter levels, Stanley said, but in addition there is a heavy outmovement from storage, indicating good demand for bacon.
Beef futures were higher, too, but not as strong as pork.
Feeder cattle futures advanced sharply and helped live cattle, said Stanley.