Chicago | Reuters — Live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange firmed on Wednesday on higher cash cattle and beef prices, while feeder cattle gained as rains were forecast to hit drought-parched grazing pastures in the western Midwest and northern Plains, traders said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported moderately active cattle sales at central Plains feedlot markets on Wednesday at prices above a week ago. Wholesale beef prices also increased.
“It looks like we’re bidding up for cattle and for beef. I’m assuming that this goes to the last big push before the end of the summer grilling season, and beef could be featured more aggressively,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.
CME benchmark October live cattle settled 0.925 cent higher at 129.05 cents/lb. and September feeder cattle futures ended up 2.425 cents at 163.35 cents/lb. (all figures US$).
USDA reported light fed cattle sales in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas from $121 to $123/cwt. In Nebraska, fed cattle traded more actively at prices above a week ago from $125 to more than $126/cwt, USDA said.
The choice boxed beef cutout value rose $2.02, to $340.08/cwt, while the select cutout jumped $3.03, to $309.80/cwt, USDA said. Both were the highest since early June.
CME lean hog futures also rose on Wednesday, lifted by speculative buying and technical support. Higher cash pork prices gave the market a further boost.
USDA reported the pork carcass cutout value on Wednesday at $120.61/cwt, up $2.49 from a day earlier.
Benchmark CME October lean hogs settled up 1.2 cents at 89.1 cents/lb.
— Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago.