LIVESTOCK-Hog futures rise to highest since July 2019 on strong demand

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live hog futures rose to their highest since July 2019 on Tuesday, underpinned by strong demand.

Cattle futures weakened for the fourth time in five days, with the most-active April live cattle contract sinking to a one-month low as activity at meat processors picked up with improving weather in the U.S. Plains.

CME April lean hog futures rose 1.3 cents to 86.425 cents per pound.

"Exports have held up with China herd expansion continuing to be watched," FuturesOne said in a note to clients.

CME April live cattle futures dropped 1.85 cents to close at 121.2 cents per pound, while the spot February contract dipped 0.1 cent to 115.625 cents per pound.

The April contract closed below its 30-day moving average for the first time since Jan. 15.

CME April feeder cattle fell 0.675 cent to 142.6 cents per pound.

Daily slaughter rates were strong, with the U.S. Agriculture Department reporting on Tuesday that 122,000 head of cattle were killed, the most since Dec. 1. The daily hog slaughter was pegged at 497,000 head, matching Monday's level, which was the most since Jan. 21.

USDA also said that frozen beef stocks as of Jan. 31 stood at 519.186 million lbs, down 3% from a month earlier but up 6% from a year ago.

Frozen pork belly stocks rose 2% from the previous month to 31.250 million lbs. But that was 56% less than a year earlier. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; Editing by Richard Chang)

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