CME update: hog futures dip as US cold snap stalls slaughter pace

US lean hog futures sank on 17 February as wintry weather and power outages hampered meat-packing operations, slowing the pace of slaughter and reducing demand for market-ready pigs.

18 February 2021, at 9:30am

Reuters reports that meatpacking giant Cargill Inc said its meat plants in three Texas cities would be idled through Thursday because a local utility company has curtailed natural gas availability after a cold snap hit the state.

A spokeswoman for Tyson Foods Inc said on Tuesday that the firm had suspended or scaled back operations at some facilities.

"Once the news began to circulate that those slaughter plants were not going to be open until Friday ... the traders just assumed we are not going to get higher cash (prices), if they don't need the animals," said Dan Norcini, an independent livestock trader.

The US Department of Agriculture on Wednesday reported the week-to-date hog slaughter at 1.315 million head, compared with 1.472 million a week ago.

CME April lean hog futures settled down 1.275 cents at 84.900 cents per pound, snapping a four-session climb.

The cash pork carcass cut-out value fell $0.54 to $89.17 per cwt, the USDA reported.

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