Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange cattle futures ended mixed on Monday, as cattle prices began to see a seasonal bounce and cash cattle traders were expected to firm slightly this week, traders said.
CME lean hog futures, meanwhile, slipped on technical trading and some signs of profit-taking, traders said.
On Monday, October lean hogs settled down 0.3 cent at 89.95 cents/lb. (all figures US$). Most-active December lean hogs slipped 1.325 cents to close at 80.175 cents.
There was also news that some pork processors may be allowed to speed up their lines. The Biden administration is considering a proposal that could allow some pork plants to slaughter pigs more quickly if they boost staffing, a union official said, after a U.S. court struck down a Trump-era rule that removed line speed limits.
Faster slaughtering would help processors increase pork production at a time of high demand and soaring bacon prices.
U.S. wholesale cutout values reported by USDA firmed. The carcass value rose $1.02, to $108.01 per hundredweight (cwt), and pork belly values jumped $5.15, to $208.53/cwt. But ham values continued to fall, down $6.62, to $68.46/cwt.
And China continued its pork buying spree: on Monday, China’s commerce ministry said it bought 30,000 tonnes of pork for state reserves on Oct. 10, the latest in a series of purchases.
In the cattle market, the most-active November feeder cattle contract inched up 0.65 cent at 161.725 cents/lb., after rising earlier in the session to 161.95 cents.
In CME’s live cattle market, front-month October futures settled the day up 1.05 cents at 125.625 cents/lb. The most-active December live cattle contract settled the day down 0.075 cent at 130.175 cents/lb.
Choice cuts of boxed beef fell by 15 cents, to $283.12/cwt, while select cuts rose by $1.69, to $264.43/cwt, according to USDA on Monday.
— P.J. Huffstutter reports on agriculture and agribusiness for Reuters from Chicago.