U.S. livestock: CME live cattle slump sixth straight day

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures fell for a sixth day in a row on Monday, pressured by supply worries implied by last Friday’s U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly Cattle on Feed report, traders said.

The report showed two per cent more cattle placed in U.S. feedlots in July compared to a year ago, which exceeded most analysts’ estimates.

August live cattle ended down 0.125 cent/lb., to 113.425 cents (all figures US$). Most actively traded October closed down 0.1 cent, to 110.35 cents.

CME live cattle declined after Friday’s report, but not as much as some had expected because of futures’ discounts to the cash market, said Oak Investment Group president Joe Ocrant.

Last week, market-ready, or cash, cattle in the U.S. Plains moved at mostly $117-$118/cwt, said feedlot sources.

Investors look for packers to pay steady to lower prices for cash cattle by Friday based on current futures prices and adequate supplies.

The government’s monthly cold storage report on Monday afternoon showed July total beef stocks at 469.25 million lbs., up three per cent from the previous month and up two per cent from last year.

CME feeder cattle drew strength from technical buying and futures’ discounts to the exchange’s feeder cattle index for Aug. 18 at 148.07 cents, said traders. August feeders closed 0.950 cents/lb. higher at 147.025 cents.

Lower hog market close

Profit-taking weighed on CME lean hogs despite the morning’s firmer cash and wholesale pork prices, said traders.

Some market participants also sold October lean hogs and at the same time bought deferred contracts in a trading strategy known as bear spreading.

October ended 0.775 cent per pound lower at 61.15 cents, and December finished 0.4 cent lower at 57.05 cents.

Monday morning’s wholesale pork price was 88 cents/cwt higher at $75.44 from Friday, USDA said.

The government reported Monday morning’s average cash hog price in Iowa/Minnesota up 21 cents/cwt from Friday, to $63.85.

Futures traders may be looking ahead to packing plant closures over the Labour Day holiday, an Iowa hog merchant said.

He said supermarkets are buying small amounts of pork until they can determine how much of it sold over the holiday.

Monday’s cold storage report showed total July pork stocks at 599.932 million lbs., up two per cent from the previous month but down five per cent from last year.

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

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