U.S. hog futures tumbled early in Wednesday's session, pressured by larger-than-expected pork stocks held in cold storage and concerns about slowing demand as wholesale and retail prices move up.
April lean hog futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange recently traded 1.77 cents, or 1.9% lower at 90.50 cents a pound. June, the second most-active month, was off 1.60 cents, or 1.6%, at $1.0080 a pound.
Some long position holders took profits following the recent gains that ran summer contracts to new highs on Tuesday.
Growth in frozen stocks of hams and total pork supplies in the cold storage facilities undermined expectations that pork exports had been strong throughout the month of January, a broker said. Others said domestic demand may have been slower than expected as well due to jitters over the economy.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported total pork stocks in the freezers as of Jan. 31 at 540.9 million pounds, well above the average of analysts' estimates at 510 million pounds.
The cold storage data were seen weighing on futures but other factors are contributing to the early losses, said Rich Nelson, director of research with Allendale Inc. Some traders are exiting long positions.
In the cash markets, bids from processors are expected to be mostly flat. Supplies overall appear to be sufficient for the current slaughter schedules but a few plants are still looking for more loads for next week, livestock dealer and market managers said.