U.S. livestock: Cash price expectations lift CME live cattle

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures gained modestly on Friday while anticipating strong prices for market-ready or cash cattle this week, traders said.

December closed 0.55 cents per pound higher at 170.2 cents, and February at 171.275 cents up 0.25 cents (all figures US$).

Processors are buying cattle for next week, the last full kill week before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

Packers who are short bought and this week’s futures’ surge emboldened feedlots to take no less than $171 per hundredweight (cwt) for their animals, traders and analysts said.

Cash cattle bids in the northern U.S. Plains were at $170/cwt, compared to last week’s sales of mostly $167.

Expectations for better cash returns stirred bull spreads, a trading strategy that consisted of traders who bought the December contract and simultaneously sold February.

“I would not be surprised if the market took a breather come Monday after this week’s cattle sales,” a trader said.

CME feeder cattle rose on buy stops and live cattle market advances.

November closed up 0.65 cent/lb. at 240 cents/lb., and January 1.9 cents higher at 236.125 cents.

Hog futures rise again

CME lean hogs gained for a seventh straight session with support from fund buying and buy stops, traders said.

December closed up 1.4 cents/lb. at 92.675 cents, and broke through the 40-day moving average of 91.7 cents. February ended 1.15 cents higher at 92.75 cents.

CME hogs made headway despite lacklustre cash prices and modest pork cutout gains.

Friday morning’s average hog price in the eastern Midwest was down 25 cents/cwt from Thursday at $84.06, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Separate USDA data showed the morning’s wholesale pork price was up 34 cents/cwt from Thursday to $96.58.

A few packers needed hogs for Saturday’s estimated 132,000-head slaughter to make up for Veterans Day plant closures and delayed delivery of pigs due to early wintry weather.

Other processors are banking on more hogs coming to market as farmers try to beat potentially lower prices before plants shut down for Thanksgiving.

— Theopolis Waters reports on livestock futures markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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