Pork bellies delisted

By Ambrose Clancy

Dolan Media Newswires

LONG ISLAND, NY -- Guaranteed to bring a smile at the mere mention of the term, pork belly futures are no more. The humble hog part made fortunes for many, not just because they brought home the bacon by betting on the belly, but because pork bellies saved the exchange where many did and do get fat dealing in food commodities.

Back in the 1950s, only eggs were actively traded at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange because corrupt traders had manipulated the onion market and Congress had to step in to shut down onion trading. The CME got healthy when it discovered pork bellies, easily frozen and turned into bacon.

Wise packers stored frozen bellies in the winter and in the spring unloaded them for the summer market, when America's BLT passion always spikes. First traded in 1961, three years later bellies were the hottest commodity traded on the CME.

By 1982 it was mostly over since the market was no longer seasonal, and now it's all bacon, all the time, found crumpled on salads or riding on burgers.

Because of a lack of interest: the grim news came from the exchange last month: "CME will be delisting Frozen Pork Bellies Futures and Options effective July 18, 2011."

A sad future, anyway you slice it.

Published: Mon, Aug 29, 2011


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