Lean hog futures opened limit higher Thursday morning, and most contracts held on to those gains through the close. The rally came on renewed expectations that Chinese buyer interest is developing and confirmation of sales in Thursday’s USDA Export Sales report. Cattle futures struggled to regain support, but closed higher.
Lean hog futures surged Thursday morning with most contracts remaining locked limit higher at the closing bell. The optimism surrounding actual sales to China in this week’s USDA Export Sales report, as well as news reports and comments about China’s interest in pork and soybeans, helped to spark buyer interest. Cattle futures struggled to find support most of the session, but the positive moves seen early in the week helped to fortify late-day buyer support.
Cash cattle trade remains light Thursday afternoon with trade reported in Texas at $99 per cwt. This is generally $1 per cwt lower than last week’s average, and may be enough to establish a weaker market tone for the week. A few delayed deals have been reported in Nebraska at $159 per cwt dressed basis. More trade is expected to develop in most areas before the end of the week with packers still needing to gain access to additional cattle before calling it good for the week. Asking prices remain firm around $100 per cwt live basis in the South and $165 dressed in the North.
The National Daily Direct afternoon hog report was $1.25 lower ($44-$47.50, weighted average $46.05) on 11,441 head.
Corn prices rallied following the USDA Crop Production and WASDE reports Thursday morning with December up 7 1/4 cents. Stock markets were higher in light trade with the Dow up 108 points and the NASDAQ up 47 points.