by Mark Weinraub
CHICAGO, April 22 (Reuters) - U.S. hog and live cattle futures eased on Wednesday, with the cash market for the animals weak as processing plants were forced to shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak, traders said.
Tyson Foods Inc will indefinitely suspend operations at its largest U.S. pork plant to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the company said on Wednesday.
Brazil’s JBS USA and WH Group’s Smithfield Foods also have shut U.S. plants due to the global pandemic. Combined, the closures remove about 15% of U.S. pork production.
“We simply do not know whether the situation will be improved or worse two weeks from now,” INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.
Lean hog futures for June delivery fell 0.20 cent to 47.9 cents per pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
CME June live cattle fell 0.150 cent to 83.925 cents per pound.
August feeder cattle futures rose 0.3 cent to 127.2 cents per pound.
The U.S. Agriculture Department on Wednesday afternoon said that frozen pork supplies as of March 31 were down 4% from the previous month but up 2% from last year. Frozen beef supplies were 2% higher from the end of February and up 11% from a year ago. (Reporting by Mark Weinraub; editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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