Frozen pork belly prices posted a sharp advance, extending a roller-coaster ride into its fourth day Tuesday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices have moved more than 1 cent a pound in each of the past four sessions, yet the price has shown a net change of less than 2 cents.
"Right now we're going through a very volatile state in the market," said Chuck Levitt, a livestock analyst with Shearson Lehman Bros. Inc. He said the volatility is typical for periods when traders can deliver the product against futures contracts.
Live hogs were supported by good demand from packers, who raised their bids on cash markets in response to a better price they can get for pork loins, Levitt said. Cattle were mixed with contracts for delivery next summer supported by anticipation that a report to be released Monday by the Agriculture Department will show a decline in the total number of cattle in the nation.
Corn and soybean futures prices were higher and wheat was lower on the Chicago Board of Trade. Trading was light until late in the session when soybeans and soy oil rallied.
Corn prices advanced slightly on rumors that the Soviet Union bought as much as 1 million tons of U.S. corn. The USDA reported after the close that the Soviets had purchased 100,000 tons.
Petroleum advanced in light trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange despite news that Mexico was lowering the price of its light crude oil and increasing its exports.