U.S. livestock futures were mixed Friday, as live cattle succumbed to profit-taking and outside pressure while the hog complex climbed on tight supplies.
CME lean hogs for June closed up 1.25 cents, or 1.4%, to 91.7 cents per pound, while the August contract settled up 0.3% to 92.825.
The hog complex was supported tight supplies, and lingering support from a surge in corn futures this week, which analysts say will prompt producers to thin their herds and feed animals to lower weights. Recent hot temperatures are also limiting hogs' weight gain.
An improvement in cash prices added to the support, said Tom Leffler, owner of Leffler Commodities.
Although prices are down sharply from record highs in mid-April, they have rebounded from a May 24 low. The bounce could encourage more buying as the market's technical outlook improves, analysts said.
While domestic demand has been sluggish, exports have been robust, and talk of increased shipments to South Korea boosted futures Friday, according to analysts.
South Korea's ambassador to the U.S. said the nation's pork imports would double this year. Livestock imports have climbed as animals were culled because of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and because of increased demand for meat, said Han Duk-soo.
"People are becoming more prosperous. They need more protein," he said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.
The gains were limited by a stronger dollar, which weighed on commodities generally.
Cash hog prices were reported steady to higher as some processors sought additional loads for delivery early next week. Prices for Monday are predicted to be flat to higher. However, tightened supplies and thin to negative processing margins may cause some plants to trim their slaughter schedules by late next week.
The terminal markets traded steady with top prices at mostly $60 on a live basis.
The latest Dow Jones Newswires pork packer margin index was minus $2.76 per head, compared with minus $2.14 the previous day.
USDA's pork carcass composite value, a measure of wholesale prices, Thursday was up $1.83 per hundred pounds at $90.71.