U.S. livestock: CME lean hog futures extend losses

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures’ selloff last Friday carried over into Monday, led by fund liquidation and weaker cash prices, traders said.

April hogs ended 1.625 cents/lb. lower at 65.65 cents, and below the 100-day moving average of 66.744 cents. May finished 1.9 cents lower at 70.325 cents, and below the 200-day moving average of 71.529 cents.

Packers paid less for hogs that are plentiful, said traders and analysts. Investor jitters seeped into the market in advance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s quarterly hog report on Thursday, they said.

Monday morning’s average price for slaughter-ready, or cash, hogs in Iowa/Minnesota was $65.90/cwt in light volume, down 77 cents from Friday, USDA said.

Weaker cash prices and firmer wholesale pork values, amid spring grilling and Easter ham business, enhanced packer profits.

Monday’s average pork packer margins were a positive $21.65 per head, up from a positive $17.85 on Friday, as calculated by HedgersEdge.com.

U.S. government data on Monday morning showed the average wholesale pork price climbed $1.40/cwt from Friday to $79.88, with higher prices for all categories listed except hams.

Cattle markets stumble

Sell stops, profit-taking and softer wholesale beef prices sent CME live cattle contracts lower, said traders.

April live cattle closed 1.025 cents/lb. lower at 121.075 cents, and June 1.4 cents lower at 111.45 cents.

Monday morning’s average wholesale beef price, or cutout, fell $1.99/cwt to $219.63 from Friday. Select slipped three cents to $215.52, the USDA said.

Last week, market-ready, or cash, cattle in the U.S. Plains fetched mostly $130 to $134.50/cwt, compared to $128 to $131 a week earlier.

Some market participants doubt that packers will bid up for cattle this week while drawing from substantial numbers of animals contracted against the futures market, said Schwieterman Inc. broker Domenic Varricchio.

Investors are closely eyeing beef cutout values for signs of product prices possibly topping out seasonally, he said.

Live cattle futures selling dragged down CME feeder cattle contracts.

March feeder cattle ended down 1.225 cents/lb. to 132.15 cents, and April 2.475 cents lower at 133.1 cents.

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

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