April 24 (Bloomberg) -- Hog prices posted the biggest gain in almost seven weeks on signs of increasing demand for U.S. pork as temperatures rise and consumers buy more meat for outdoor grilling. Cattle also gained.
Wholesale pork prices increased 1.1 percent to 86.41 cents a pound yesterday, the highest since Feb. 1, government data show. The northwestern half of the Midwest has been at least 5 degrees below average this month, and temperatures should rise to closer to normal for the next 6 to 15 days, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
"That demand has come in, and the product value is surging," Lou Arens, a broker at PCI Advisory Services in Waucoma, Iowa, said in a telephone interview. "Now we’re getting the warmer weather, and we’re looking for this to hopefully be the start of the seasonal rally."
Hog futures for June settlement gained 1.6 percent to close at 91 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the biggest increase for the most-active contract since March 7.
Average temperatures in April through yesterday have been 9.6 degrees below normal in Minneapolis, 4.7 degrees below average in Des Moines, Iowa, and 3.2 degrees below normal in Chicago, Paul Walker, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said by telephone. Temperatures across the Midwest will be near normal through the beginning of May, he said.
Cattle futures for June delivery added 1 percent to settle at $1.22075 a pound on the CME.
Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement climbed 1.7 percent to $1.50625 a pound.
--Editors: Thomas Galatola, Patrick McKiernan
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