Traders in the CME lean hog market are trying to balance bearish short-term price prospects against the potential for a substantial seasonal rebound in early 2013. The Thursday afternoon pork report exemplified this conflict. It stated primal ham values over 1.0 cent lower as the leg muscle market continues its traditional pre-holiday breakdown (since grocers have almost surely completed their purchases for Christmas dinner entrees at this point. However, pork cutout actually rose 0.25 cents to 83.83 cents/pound due largely to substantial advances in pork rib and belly values. Those seem to indicate the market will do very well once the industry gets past the short-term demand weakness and the normal mid-December bulge in hog marketings. Futures generally favored the bulls in overnight trading; February hogs rose 0.17 cents to 86.07, while June lifted 0.07 cents to 100.10 cents/pound.
The result of the weekly cotton sales report were rather disappointing, thereby setting a negative tone for Thursday trading. The concurrent losses suffered by corn and wheat probably added to the downward pressure upon the white fiber market. The gains posted earlier in the weak may have opened the door for a setback as well. Conversely, overnight advances in the grain and soy complexes very likely encouraged buying in the cotton pit. Little apparent news emerged late Thursday or early Friday. March cotton seems set to open the New York trading day 0.34 cents higher at 74.90 cents/pound, while December inched 0.07 higher to 77.70.