December 24, 2018 / 7:12 PM / 9 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Hogs slump to six-week low on technical selloff, cash worries

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, Dec 24 (Reuters) - U.S. lean hog futures        
declined as much as 1.4 percent on Monday in technical selling
and worries of weaker prices for hogs in cash markets, traders
and analysts said.
    Cattle futures, meanwhile, were mostly higher on light
chart-based buying in an abbreviated session at the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange ahead of Tuesday's Christmas holiday.
    Prices for hogs often slump around the new year as meat
demand tapers following the busy holiday season.
    No cash prices for hogs or cattle were released on Monday by
the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to a previously announced
federal holiday. Many livestock reports were expected to be
issued later this week even as parts of the U.S. government
closed due to the shutdown over federal funding.
    CME February lean hog futures         settled down 0.825
cent at 60.300 cents per pound, the lowest since Nov. 12.
    The contract still was trading at a premium to CME Group's
index of the cash hog market        of 53.87 cents. Unless cash
hog prices rise, futures may come under further pressure to
close the gap between the cash and futures markets.
    "The hog market continues to carry a premium to the
declining cash market," said Top Third Ag Marketing analyst
Craig VanDyke. "It's a battle for the (bullish traders) to build
any sort of momentum."
    February hog futures have dropped by about 13 percent since
their contract highs notched on Nov. 20.
    Both live cattle         and feeder cattle futures        
firmed in light-volume trading, buoyed in part by comparatively
stronger demand for beef than pork.
    CME February live cattle         settled up 0.075 cent at 
122.775 cents per pound while the April contract         touched
a contract high of 125.400 cents before settling at 125.225
cents, up 0.400 cent.
    CME January feeder cattle         finished up 0.025 cent at 
147.375 cents per pound.

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago
Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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