U.S. lean-hog futures closed mixed Monday, with firm cash prices supporting the front-month while some deferred contracts slipped along with a retreat in corn futures. Recent tightness in the cash market and expectations for improved pork demand have been supportive, although a weak domestic economy is limiting the upside.
A pullback in corn prices and profit-taking weighed on some contracts, analysts said.
CME lean hogs for June closed up 0.775 cent, or 0.8%, to 92.475 cents per pound, while the August contract closed down 0.450 cent to 92.375 cents.
ADM's Brase said after a corrective bounce last week, nearby contracts will need higher pork prices to continue pushing up. Meanwhile, deferred contracts "will need to see more significant herd liquidation to get higher price levels," he said.
Cash-hog prices were reported mostly steady. Some pork processors need additional supplies for arrival later in the week but thin-to-negative processing margins are causing buyers to bid more cautiously for the hogs, said livestock dealers and analysts.
The terminal markets traded from $1 to $2 higher at $61 to $62 on a live basis.
The latest Dow Jones Newswires pork-packer margin index was minus $6.54 per head, compared with minus $2.76 the previous day.
The USDA's pork-carcass composite value, a measure of wholesale prices, Friday was down $0.38 per hundred pounds at $90.33.