Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures firmed on Thursday, as relatively steady cash cattle prices offset higher feed costs weighing on the feeder market, traders said.
Meanwhile, lean hog futures continued to slide on a seasonal trend of robust supplies, even as hog slaughter rates showed signs of slowing.
Hog supplies tend to grow each fall, which weighs on the prices and often leads to more volumes of meat pushed into the marketplace, said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Most-active December lean hogs ended down 0.825 cent at 77.325 cents/lb. and hit their lowest price since Sept. 24 (all figures US$). Front-month October hogs closed down 0.45 cent at 88.2 cents/lb.
Chinese purchases of U.S. beef, however, are continuing to boom, analysts said. China is the biggest beef market and there is still a lot of demand there.
Most-active December live cattle futures settled up 1.3 cents, at 130.3 cents/lb. February live cattle rose 1.1 cents, to 134.65 cents/lb.
Most-active November feeder cattle contract rose 1.175 cents to 162.15 cents/lb., while the January contract settled up 0.9 cent, to 162.35 cents.
— P.J. Huffstutter reports on agriculture and agribusiness for Reuters from Chicago.