LIVESTOCK-Hog futures rise on export hopes, cattle futures weak

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, Sept 25 (Reuters) - U.S. hog futures rose 1.7% on Friday, with the market shrugging off bearish supply data on hopes that exports would remain strong, traders said.

"At a time when we are nearing our fourth-quarter peak in supply, the market is highly focused on the belief that export sales are running the show," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist for commodity broker Allendale.

Demand from China remains strong after an African swine flu outbreak ravaged herds across the world's top consumer of pork earlier this year.

A U.S. Agriculture Department report released on Thursday after the market closed showed that the hog herd as of Sept. 1 was 100.7% of the year-earlier total. Analysts had been expecting 100.1%, according to a Reuters survey.

Cattle futures were lower, with the front-month live cattle contract falling from its highest level in more than a month on some end-of-week profit taking.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange October live cattle settled 0.45 cent lower at 107.575 cents per pound and December dropped 0.875 cent to end at 111.4 cents.

CME October feeder cattle settled 1.95 cents lower at 140.325 cents per pound, and most-active November ended down 2.2 cents at 140.15 cents.

CME October lean hog futures rose 2.275 cents to end at 71.75 cents per pound and most-active December hogs gained 1.15 cents to 64.425 cents.

After the close, USDA said that number of cattle on feed as of Sept. 1 was 104% of a year earlier, topping market estimates for 103.3%.

Nelson said the bearish figure would weigh on the markets early next week. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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