U.S. livestock: Lean hogs ease on profit-taking

Cash prices, corn values drag on cattle futures

CME August 2021 lean hogs (candlesticks) with 20- and 50-day moving averages (pink, black lines) and August 2021 live cattle (red open/high/low/close). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures settled mostly lower on Wednesday, as investors took profits after some nearby contracts scaled the highest levels in years during the session on strong cash hog and pork prices.

Cash hog prices remained firm while pork values hovered near the highest in almost seven years, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data.

“We were weaker but we still made some new contract highs today. There was just a little profit taking after what’s been an amazing run,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.

CME June hog futures climbed to a contract high of 115.725 cents/lb., which was also the highest for a front-month contract since August 2014, and settled 0.025 cent higher at 115.275 cents (all figures U$).

Actively traded July hogs came within 0.1 cent of its contract high before falling and ending down 1.1 cents at 116.4 cents/lb.

The August and October hog contracts also hit life-of-contract highs before surrendering the gains and closing flat on the day.

The cash pork carcass cutout value dipped by 54 cents on Wednesday to $123.98/cwt, after hitting the highest in nearly seven years a day earlier, according to USDA data.

Cattle futures eased on Wednesday, pressured by flat to weaker cash feedlot cattle prices and firmer corn feed values.

Some southern Plains feedlot cattle traded at $119-$120/cwt at midweek, about steady with a week ago, while cattle in the online fed cattle exchange traded at lower prices, traders said.

CME August live cattle futures fell 0.775 cent to 119.15 cents/lb. August feeder cattle dropped 1.475 cents to 155.2 cents/lb.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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