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LIVESTOCK-CME lean hogs hit four-week high in most-active contract

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, Sept 15 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures touched a four-week high on Thursday on technical buying and concerns about tightening supplies, analysts said.

Demand from pork processors helped underpin futures as packers' profit margins improved, a broker said. Margins were estimated to be $2.45 per hog, up from a loss of $4.15 per hog a week ago, according to livestock marketing advisory service HedgersEdge.com.

CME October lean hogs closed 1.35 cents higher at 96.050 cents per lb. Most-active December hogs ended up 2.350 cents to end at 87.650 cents per lb. The contract earlier rose to 88.250 cents, its highest price since Aug. 17.

The market has rebounded since falling to a two-month low on Sept. 8.

Live cattle futures also strengthened at the CME, with the October contract advancing 1.275 cents to 145.625 cents per lb. December live cattle closed up 1.275 cents at 151.325 cents per lb and touched its highest price since Aug. 17 at 151.650 cents.

CME feeder cattle futures, meanwhile, finished weaker. October feeders eased 0.500 cent to close at 180.925 cents per lb.

Prices for choice cuts of boxed beef shipped to wholesale buyers fell by $1.13 to $252.34 per cwt, while select cuts slipped by $0.16 to $229.95 per cwt, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

"While boxed beef has struggled, we've seen pretty strong volumes," a commodity broker said.

Analysts said warnings about a global recession remained a concern for livestock markets, as an economic slowdown would reduce demand for high-priced beef.

In Europe, the biggest pork producer, Danish Crown, said it would cut 350 jobs at two factories in Denmark as a result of declining supplies from farmers hit by rising energy and feed prices. (Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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