LIVESTOCK: U.S. hog futures jump with pork prices

Chicago Mercantile Exchange hogs closed higher on Friday as strong pork prices lifted futures for a third straight session, traders and analysts said.

Friday morning’s USDA mandatory wholesale pork price report, or cutout, was $103.67 per hundredweight (cwt). The price surged $2.89 from Thursday to its highest since $104.86 on July 9.

Tight supplies of frozen pork bellies, which are processed into bacon, led the charge, a trader said. Bellies are in high demand with the summer’s bacon-lettuce-tomato season in full swing, he said.

Packing plants which were offline on Monday for a floater holiday, and to recover lost margins, slowed the flow of fresh pork to grocers.

Pork processors that were closed on Monday and those scheduled to be dark on Aug. 5 for a floater holiday will make up the downtimes on Saturday. t for the week. August closed at 99.250 cents per lb, 0.825 cent higher. October ended at 83.950 cents, up 0.050 cent.

DELIVERY WORRIES UNDERCUT CATTLE

CME live cattle posted modest losses following a choppy session as jitters about next week’s deliveries weighed, traders and analysts said.

August futures’ premium to cash prices has narrowed significantly in recent weeks which could reduce the number of deliveries, said CattleHedging.com analyst Elaine Johnson.

Spread traders sold August futures and bought the October contract given lackluster beef demand and generally steady cash cattle prices.

Bullish investors are expecting a seasonal bounce in cash prices fueled by the prospect of increased beef buying as temperatures moderate in the fall.

Instead, cash prices have hovered around $119 per cwt for several weeks amid the usual lull in summer beef demand.

This week, cash cattle in Texas sold at $119 per hundredweight and mostly $119 in Kansas, with a few at $120, said feedlot sources.

They said the bulk of live-basis cattle in Nebraska on average fetched $120.50 per cwt, roughly steady with a week ago.

USDA on Friday morning quoted the wholesale price of choice beef at $186.78 per cwt, up 12 cents from Thursday. Select cuts dropped 54 cents to $180.99.

For the week, live cattle futures slipped 0.76 per cent.

August live cattle closed down 0.150 cent to 120.650 cents per lb and October at 124.475 cents, or 0.025 cent weaker.

Profit taking after four straight days of advances and weak CME live cattle pressured feeder cattle futures.

Despite Friday’s moderate setback, CME feeder cattle were up 0.88 for the week, their third straight weekly gain.

August feeders closed at 153.725 cents, down 0.025 cent per lb, and September at 157.000 cents, or 0.250 cent lower.

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