March 8 (Bloomberg) -- Hog futures rallied to a two-week high on speculation that demand for U.S. pork will improve, as the most-expensive beef since October encourages consumers to seek cheaper meats. Cattle declined.
The value of a 200-pound (91-kilogram) hog carcass sold at a discount of $1.1799 a pound to beef today, above the median spread of $1.0833 during the past year, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Wholesale pork fell yesterday to 78.91 cents a pound, the lowest since Sept. 25. Today, beef had its 12th straight gain, touching $1.9772, the highest since Oct. 30.
“Packer behavior is indicating strong demand for pork, and why not, if we’re at a six-month low for pork,” Dennis Smith, a senior account executive at Archer Financial Services Inc., said by telephone. “Pork is priced attractively.”
Hog futures for April settlement rose 0.3 percent to 82.025 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after touching 82.35 cents, the highest for a most-active contract since Feb. 22. Prices still are down 4.3 percent this year.
Cattle futures for April delivery slid 0.6 percent to $1.2755 a pound on the CME, the fourth straight decline. Feeder- cattle futures for May settlement fell 0.7 percent to $1.4385 a pound, the third loss this week.
--Editors: Steve Stroth, Thomas Galatola