Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog futures ended higher on Friday on a mild technical bounce while cattle contracts weakened.
Feeder cattle contracts were under pressure from profit-taking following six straight days of gains that pushed the front-month contract to its highest since Jan. 30.
CME lean hog futures for April delivery ended up 0.15 cent to settle at 67.025 cents/lb. (all figures US$). The contract found support from early weakness at its 20-day moving average.
Benchmark CME April live cattle futures settled down 0.9 cent at 118.25 cents/lb. CME March feeder cattle futures dropped 0.6 cent to 140.2 cents/lb.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday morning that pork export sales totaled 23,800 tonnes in the week ended Feb. 13. That included 1,100 tonnes to China. Beef export sales were 19,400 tonnes.
USDA said after the close in a monthly report that the number of cattle on feed as of Feb. 1 was 102 per cent of the total from a year earlier. Analysts had estimated the report would show the amount of cattle in U.S. feedlots as of Feb. 1 was 102.4 per cent of the February 2019 total.
Cattle placements in January were 99 per cent of January 2019, below forecasts for 101.4 per cent.
— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.