U.S. hog futures continued their declines Wednesday, falling on demand concerns and a broad-based selling of commodities by investors.
U.S. cattle futures came under similar pressures, but settled nearly flat as a sharp price drop in recent weeks may be slowing.
The lean-hog futures contract for May settled 2.05 cents, or 2.2%, lower at 90.6 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the lowest level for a front contract since late March. The June contract, which is the most actively traded, dropped 0.32 cent, or 0.4%, to 92.15 cents a pound.
Hog futures have come under pressure since setting record highs last month as demand weakens in the face of rising food and gasoline prices and feed costs pull back slightly. Further fueling declines in hog futures has been a broad exit by investors from commodities such as crude oil, metals and wheat.
"We have continued to see commodity liquidation in general," said Don Roose, an analyst with U.S. Commodities.
He said driving the larger pullback is profit taking by investors and expectation for a broad softening of commodity demand amid higher prices. Sharp declines in silver helped fuel the general exit from hard assets with the precious metal falling nearly 19% since Friday's close.
Pork is facing its own demand issues. A slow start to grilling season because of cool, wet weather has limited any seasonal uptick in buying.
In the cash market, prices were reported from 50 cents to $1.50 per hundred pounds lower amid extremely limited buying interest as pork processors pull back their slaughter schedules due to slow pork sales and thin-to-negative margins.
The terminal markets traded narrowly mixed with tops from $61.50 to $62 per a hundred pound on a live basis.
Wholesale pork prices Tuesday fell $1.12 to $91.31 per a hundred pounds, the lowest since mid-March, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.