LIVESTOCK-U.S. hog futures rise on supply woes; cattle contracts ease

CHICAGO, April 20 (Reuters) - U.S. hog futures rallied on Monday, with supply expected to tighten after another slaughterhouse was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, traders said.

“If we have packers up and running we know we have the domestic demand,” said Ted Seifried chief market strategist for Zaner Ag Hedge. “It is just getting the animal to the plate.”

JBS USA said on Monday it would indefinitely shut a Minnesota hog slaughterhouse that produces about 5% of the country’s pork, in the latest disruption to the U.S. food supply chain from the coronavirus pandemic.

Some bargain hunting also propped up the hog market, which fell 10.2% last week.

Lean hog futures added 2.525 cents to 46.25 cents per pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Cattle futures fell on technical selling.

CME June live cattle fell 1.2 cents to 85.1 cents per pound. The contract hit resistance at its 20-day moving average.

August feeder cattle futures dropped 0.75 cent to 127.65 cents per pound after failing to hold support above its 40-day moving average, a level it struggled at during the previous two sessions.

After the close, Cargill Ltd. said it has begun the process of temporarily idling its beef plant in High River, Alberta due to a COVID-19 outbreak and encouraged all of its employees to get tested for the respiratory virus as soon as possible. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by David Gregorio)