Hog futures held up relatively well in the face of the Wednesday cattle breakdown. Differences in their respective cash situations probably account for the disparity, since afternoon USDA reports indicated Corn Belt hog prices at steady-higher levels. Pork prices also rose moderately on strength from pork loin values. Seasonal cash and wholesale gains may support the swine market over the next few weeks, but such hopes might prove forlorn if the long bull market in cattle prices has truly ended. February hogs rose 0.25 cents to 85.40 cents/pound in early-morning action, whereas the June contract was unchanged at 96.65.
The big Wednesday cotton surge may have reflected growing talk that the ongoing Chinese cotton stockpiling program is forcing its textile mills to import cotton and yarn from competitors, since the government buying has rendered domestically produced fiber much less competitive than in the past. Indeed, a wire service story addressing that situation may have boosted ICE futures again in early morning trading. March cotton seems likely to begin the New York trading day 0.09 cents higher, at 77.42 cents/pound, while December may move up 0.10 cents to 79.34.