DTN Livestock Midday: Hogs See More Sharp Losses

Photo: United Soybean Board

April hog futures are posting sharp triple-digit losses for the second straight trading session. This underlying weakness continues to add concerns of long-term pressure continuing in hog trade.

General Comments

Bearishness in hog trade has continued to develop Wednesday morning with triple-digit losses once again flooding into front-month April futures. This is pushing prices below $54 per cwt, adding market liquidation to the entire market. Cattle trade is hovering in a narrowly mixed range with limited fundamental support allowing traders to adjust positions following early-week gains.

Corn futures are slightly higher in sluggish trade. March corn futures are 3/4 cent higher. Stock markets are lower in light trade. Dow Jones is 24 points lower with Nasdaq down 14 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Live cattle futures are stuck in a narrowly mixed trading range with trades still focusing on pressure in hog futures while limited outside market activity is seen. Nearby contracts are holding narrow gains with April futures expanding the early-week support with a 35 cent price boost, while deferred futures are holding single-digit losses in very quiet activity.

Cash markets remain quiet although a few bids have started to develop. Live bids are seen at $123 per cwt, while dressed bids of $198 per cwt. Asking prices are becoming more evident at $128 live and $205 and higher dressed.

Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are lower, $1.53 lower (select) and down $0.03 per cwt (choice) with moderate movement of 92 total loads reported (50 loads of choice cuts, 14 loads of select cuts, 20 loads of trimmings, 8 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Sluggish market activity is seen in feeder cattle trade which is symbolic of the overall lack of moves in all cattle markets. Losses have been contained to 5 to 30 cents per cwt as traders square positions following strong early week gains. Limited late-day activity is expected to be seen through the all feeder cattle futures.

LEAN HOGS:

Despite the limited early trade, futures have once again swiftly moved lower with triple-digit losses in April and May contracts. Continued technical losses in front-month futures has pushed April contracts $2.70 per cwt. With prices falling below $54 per cwt. Follow-through pressure is likely to continue to be seen with lean hog markets able to expand normal trading limits, meaning trade will not stop until prices fall $4.50 per cwt lower.

Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price fell $0.17 at $48.01 per cwt with the range from $44.50 to $48.52 on 6,680 head reported sold.

Cash prices lower on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.49 at $47.65 per cwt with the range from $44.50 to $48.25 on 2,730 head reported sold.

Pork carcass values firmed midweek based on renewed buyer support moving into most primal cuts with prices gaining $1.15 per cwt at $61.06 per cwt with 206 loads traded. Lean hog index for 2/18 is $54.43, down $0.31, with a projected two-day index is $54.13, down $0.30.

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