Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog and live cattle futures climbed on Thursday as U.S. wholesale prices increased.
Pork and beef are in high demand in supermarkets and restaurants as the distribution of federal stimulus checks has prompted consumers to spend more on food, analysts said. COVID-19 vaccinations and easing restrictions on businesses are also leading more people to eat out, they said.
Boxed beef choice cutout values jumped by $1.59, to $306.37/cwt, while select cuts soared $3.18, to $289.36/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (all figures US$).
For pork, the cutout value increased by $1.95/cwt, to $113.86, USDA said.
A decline in average U.S. hog weights is contributing to tighter U.S. pork supplies at a time of strong sales, traders said. The average weight in the week ended May 1 was 285.1 lbs., down one pound from a week earlier and 6.3 pounds a year ago, according to USDA data.
Export demand remained solid. Pork export sales for the week ended April 29 reached 48,200 tonnes for 2021 delivery, up 36 per cent from the previous week, according to USDA.
Weekly U.S. beef export sales were 16,900 tonnes for 2021, down 28 per cent from the previous week, the agency said.
CME most-active June lean hogs set a contract high of 115 cents/lb. and settled up 0.05 cent at 114.475 cents/lb. July hogs set a contract high for the fifth consecutive day and ended up 0.175 cents at 114.65 cents/lb.
June live cattle futures advanced 1.05 cents to end at 115.475 cents/lb. The market has pulled back 8.1 per cent from a contract high of 125.625 on April 8.
August feeder cattle futures tumbled 1.825 cents, to 143.4 cents/lb., and is down 11 per cent from a contract high last month.
— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.