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LIVESTOCK-Hog futures rally to highest since mid-October

CHICAGO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures jumped to their highest in more than three months on Thursday, supported by strength in the cash markets, traders said.

Most actively traded February lean hogs rose 2.625 cents to 84.925 cents per pound.

The front-month contract closed just below its session peak of 84.975 cents, which was its highest on a continuous basis since Oct. 14.

Hog futures have risen for four sessions in a row, their longest streak of gains since late September.

CME February live cattle futures dipped 0.225 cent to 138.325 cents per pound. March feeder cattle futures were down 0.675 cent to 164.95 cents per pound.

Analysts were expecting a U.S. Agriculture Department report that will be released on Friday to show that the number of cattle on feed as of Jan. 1 stood at 99.8% of the year-earlier total. Placements during December were forecast at 102.6% of the December 2020 total and marketings at 100.8%.

Meat processors slaughtered an estimated 457,000 hogs on Thursday, in line with Wednesday’s kill but down 4,000 from a week earlier, USDA said. The cattle slaughter was pegged at 116,000, 2,000 higher than a week ago.

Profit margins for beef processors rose to $456.90 per head of cattle on Thursday from $426.20 on Wednesday, said HedgersEdge.com. Pork processors’ margins rose to $34.50 from $26.85 per head. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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