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LIVESTOCK-CME lean hogs drop as pork cutout sinks to near two-year low

CHICAGO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures fell on Wednesday for the ninth time in 10 sessions as weak cash hog prices and lower pork values dragged the market to a fresh three-month low, traders said.

Pork packer margins have eroded and the closely followed cash wholesale pork cutout value fell on Wednesday to the lowest level in nearly two years.

“The anchor on the hogs is the premium in the futures market to the (CME lean hog) index and the fact that we haven’t been able to put in a cash low yet,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quoted the pork cutout PRK-MAN-CARCS at $80.68 per cwt on Wednesday, down $1.05 from the prior day and lowest since Feb. 3, 2021.

The average pork packer margin on Wednesday was estimated at just $5.80 per head, down from $11.10 a week ago, according to marketing advisory service HedgersEdge.com.

CME February lean hogs ended 0.500 cent lower at 79.300 cents per pound. The benchmark contract fell to a low of 78.825 cents during the session, the lowest since Oct. 5.

Live cattle futures were flat to lower as beef prices eased and traders waited for weekly cash trading to develop.

Some traders also moved to the sidelines as they awaited the release of Thursday’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop supply and demand report, which could impact livestock markets by triggering sharp moves in corn feed prices.

February live cattle ended unchanged for a second straight session at 157.750 cents per pound while April futures were down 0.135 cent at 161.325 cents. March feeder cattle futures fell 0.950 cent to 185.550 cents per pound. (Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago)

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