U.S. livestock: CME live cattle retreat on softer cash price outlook

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures fell on Monday on expectations for lower prices for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle this week amid ample supplies, traders said.

The decline triggered pre-determined sell orders, and funds sold the October contract after it slipped beneath its 200-day moving average of 107.183 cents (all figures US$).

August ended 0.675 cent/lb. lower at 109.05 cents, and October closed 0.8 cent lower at 106.6 cents.

A week ago, cash cattle in the U.S. Plains brought $114-$116/cwt, compared to $116-$119 a week earlier.

Processors avoided bidding up for cattle as ranchers and feedlots rushed them to market earlier than planned, prompted by two bearish U.S. government cattle reports late last month.

For the week ending Aug. 12 the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated the cattle slaughter at 641,000 head, 10.7 per cent more than a year ago which produced 8.5 per cent more beef.

“I think we’re in the process of working through these big supplies through the rest of the year in an orderly fashion,” said Cassandra Fish, author of industry blog The Beef.

Market participants are tracking wholesale beef demand for clues that grocers are buying meat for U.S. Labour Day holiday grilling advertisements.

CME feeder cattle finished higher for a second straight session. Futures were bullishly undervalued, or at a discount, to the exchange’s feeder cattle index for Aug. 11 at 145.9 cents.

Market bulls believe the rush of cattle to market now, including heifers and calves, will result in fewer cattle later.

August feeders closed 0.525 cent/lb. higher at 142.3 cents.

Hogs close firmer

CME lean hog futures settled moderately higher, mainly because of their discounts to the exchange’s hog index for Aug. 10 at 85.25 cents, traders said.

Uneasiness about cash and wholesale pork prices as supplies continue to grow seasonally capped market advances.

August, which expired at noon CT, settled down 0.2 cent/lb., to 84.45 cents. October ended up 0.55 cent at 69.175 cents, and December finished up 0.25 cent at 63.5 cents.

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


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