May hogs slid to a 5 1/2-week low on disappointment among some traders that cash prices haven't yet found solid footing following declines earlier in the week. May closed down 0.87c, or 0.9%, at 97.75 cents a pound. Most-active June fell 0.40c, or 0.4%, to 96.70 cents.
Some processors have trimmed their slaughter schedules due to thin operating margins and difficulty in attaining higher prices for the pork, analysts said. Pork bellies, from which bacon is made, carried much of the increase in the carcass composite value until recently but prices have turned lower, weighing on wholesale pork prices.
While seasonal strength is expected for pork prices in May, some traders hold concerns about near-term demand and cash market uncertainty. Short covering gains early in the session gave way to those concerns.
The USDA's pork carcass composite value Tuesday was up $0.19 per hundred pounds at $94.82, but traders remain cautious about prices in the near-term and whether the market overall will make a normal seasonal rally.
The terminal markets traded flat to $1 per hundred pounds lower with tops from $63 to $64 on a live basis.