Hog futures finished mixed Wednesday as the front-month contract hit another record and traders prepared for bigger supplies of animals in the fall. Pork prices posted a seventh consecutive record high after the market closed.
August hog futures rose 0.85 cent, or 0.9%, to $1.0465 cents a pound in trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That's a new record-high closing price for hog futures, as measured by historical prices of front month contracts.
CME October hog futures fell 0.42 cent, or 0.5%, to 92.25 cents a pound.
Hog futures have rallied since last week as wholesale pork prices have hit record highs for six straight days--a sign, many brokers say, that China is buying more pork to control its spiralling food prices. China has also recently made statements that pork prices there have stabilized.
The USDA's pork carcass composite value, a measure of wholesale prices, on Wednesday climbed up $2.08 to $108.31 a hundred pounds--the seventh consecutive day of record-high pork prices.
China's need for more pork has also coincided with a Midwest summer heat wave that has made for smaller slaughter-ready hogs, since their weight gain slows when temperatures soar.
Cash hog prices were reported steady to higher on the tightened supplies.
Average hog weights in Iowa/southern Minnesota last week were the lightest in nearly three years, pulled down by the heat wave as the animals reduced feed intake and didn't gain weight as fast as normal. Last week's average was down 2.8 pounds from the previous week and 6.1 pounds under year ago.
October contracts felt pressure as some traders prepared for coming seasonal growth in supplies.
Producers typically turn out more hogs after summer ends, since cooler weather translates to better efficiency.
The terminal markets traded steady, with top prices ranging from $68 to $74 a hundred pounds.