Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures sagged on Monday as beef prices fell and brokers worried that U.S. demand for steaks and hamburgers will decline after the upcoming Labour Day holiday weekend.
Beef prices have softened after reaching their highest price since May 2020 last week as retailers stocked up for end-of-summer sales. Beef prices normally top out just ahead of Labour Day, which is next Monday.
Choice cuts of boxed beef fell by $2.63, to $342.74/cwt, while select cuts dropped by $2.39, to $313.13/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (all figures US$).
“Typically the end of the grilling season is the weekend,” said Brian Hoops, president of U.S. broker Midwest Market Solutions. “Then demand starts to soften a little bit.”
CME October live cattle ended down 0.8 cent at 128.325 cents/lb. December live cattle slipped 0.65 cent, to 134.675 cents/lb.
Feeder cattle futures ended mostly firmer, as grain prices stumbled. October feeders settled up 0.525 cent at 168.95 cents/lb.
In the pork market, CME October hogs ended 0.575 cents lower at 90.15 cents/lb.
U.S. wholesale pork cutout values also stumbled. USDA reported that pork carcass value fell $6.87, to $109.72/cwt.
China’s state planner said it will continue to buy pork for state reserves to support weak prices in the world’s top pork-consuming market.
China has been rebuilding its hog herd after the fatal pig disease African swine fever decimated its hog herd and forced the country to increase imports.
In other livestock news, U.S. chicken producer Sanderson Farms said Hurricane Ida closed plants in Mississippi and Louisiana, though none of its facilities suffered significant structural damage.
The company plans to operate during the holiday weekend, including on Monday, to catch up on lost production, according to a statement.
— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.