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FINANCIAL MARKETS : Commodities : Pork Belly Prices Fall to Daily Limit

From Associated Press

Frozen pork belly futures plummeted the limit allowed for daily trading Monday as the market braced for a government report that is expected to show a large increase in hogs being readied for slaughter.

On other markets, livestock futures also settled lower; cotton futures plunged the limit; grains and soybeans, precious metals and energy futures were all mixed.

The selling was tied to expectations that the U.S. Agriculture Department’s quarterly hogs and pigs report, due out after the close on Wednesday, will show a significant increase in the numbers of animals for slaughter and breeding, said William J. Arndt, an analyst in Chicago for Dean Witter Reynolds.

The total hog herd in the 10 states covered by the USDA report may be 8% larger than the count taken a year earlier, said Chuck Levitt, an analyst in Chicago for Shearson Lehman Bros.

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“These numbers spell larger slaughter and larger pork production down the road, and that kind of thing is a little scary as far as the pork market is concerned,” he said.

Live hog futures also declined in anticipation of the report. Cattle futures retreated on mostly technical factors, Levitt said.

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