U.S. lean hog futures ended mostly higher, gaining price support from the larger rally in commodities and easing concerns about demand after a sharp, recent sell off.
Analysts said recent price declines coupled with pork continuing to be cheaper than beef should help sagging demand. Pork, however, still remains at risk of losing market share to chicken as consumers squeezed by higher gas prices look for cheaper dining options.
June hog futures rose 0.27 cent, or 0.3%, to 92.65 cents a pound, while the July contract climbed 0.6 cent, or 0.7%, at 93.2 cents a pound. The May contract fell 0.62 cents, or 0.7%, to 92.72 cents a pound in light volume ahead of expiration Friday.
In the cash hog markets, bids range from flat to $1 per hundred pounds lower as processors attempt to prop up wholesale pork prices and rebuild their thin to negative slaughtering margins. Tightened supplies could limit cash price declines.
The latest Dow Jones Newswires pork packer margin index was minus 40 cents per head, compared with minus $2.54 the previous day.
The terminal markets traded mostly steady in light volume with top prices at $61 per hundred pounds on a live basis.
The USDA's pork carcass composite value, a measure of wholesale prices, for Friday was $90.44 per hundred pounds, down 3 cents.