November 29, 2018 / 11:51 PM / in 19 days

LIVESTOCK-Hog futures bounce on news of U.S. pork sales to China

    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - U.S. lean hog futures jumped
more than 4 percent on Thursday after the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's weekly export sales report showed that China last
week placed its largest order for American pork since February,
traders said.
    The purchases are a signal that an outbreak of African swine
fever in the world's top hog producer and pork consumer is
raising concerns of an eventual supply shortfall, potentially
superseding trade tensions between the world's two largest
economies.             
    China in the week to Nov. 22 bought 3,348 tonnes of pork to
be shipped this year, USDA said. Overall weekly U.S. pork sales
totaled 34,000 tonnes for the 2018 and 2019 marketing years.
            
    "We sold pork to China for both 2018 and 2019. It might be
the first sign of the impact it (African swine fever) is having
over there," said Jim Gerlach, president of Indiana-based A/C
Trading.
    Chicago Mercantile Exchange February lean hog futures
        settled up 2.850 cents at 67.350 cents per pound while
front-month December        rose 0.775 cent to end at 58.725
cents. 
    Traders also noted short-covering following a three-session
slide in the February hog contract.
    However, forecasts for a winter storm to hit the western
Midwest this weekend may have capped rallies.
    "This will delay slaughtering, which means it (extends) this
big-supply period that we're in," said Rich Nelson of Allendale
Inc. 
    CME live cattle and feeder cattle futures closed lower,
hobbled by disappointing export data.
    CME February live cattle futures         settled down 0.275
cent at 120.275 cents per pound and January feeder cattle
        ended down 1.725 cents at 145.975 cents.
    The USDA reported weekly export sales of U.S. beef for the
2018 marketing year at 9,063 tonnes, down 26 percent from the
previous week and the smallest total since July.
    The looming winter storm and forecasts for a cold spell in
its wake could be supportive for cattle futures, Nelson said,
because it might hamper the ability of Plains cattle to put on
weight.

 (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen
Editing by Chris Reese)
  
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