U.S. livestock: Live cattle futures firm on expectations of firm cash

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters – U.S. live cattle futures rose on Tuesday, supported by expectations of higher prices this week in the cash market for slaughter-ready cattle, traders said.

“Cash could be steady to $1 to $2 (per cwt) better this week. Some of the show lists are smaller than last week, and that has (led to) ideas we are going to see improved cash trade,” said Brian Hoops, president of Midwest Market Solutions.

August live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) settled up 0.475 cent at 100.900 cents per pound while the most-active October contract rose 1.175 cents to 105.000 cents a pound.

CME August feeder cattle futures ended up 1.350 cents at 140.700 cents per pound and September feeder cattle rose 1.675 cents to 141.300 cents per pound.

Feeder cattle futures drew support from a drop in Chicago Board of Trade corn futures tied to expectations of a big U.S. grain harvest this autumn. Cheaper corn tends to make feedlots more profitable, encouraging feedlot operators to buy more feeder cattle.

“We’ve seen big demand for feeders, a couple dollars higher at most of the sale barns that we follow,” Hoops said.

CME lean hog futures closed narrowly mixed, with the front two contract months closing lower on plentiful hog supplies, while deferred contracts firmed slightly. The benchmark October lean hog contract settled down 0.025 cent at 50.725 cents per pound.

“We are looking at a little better cash (hog) market here recently, but we’ve got so much supply that it is going to be difficult to sustain,” Hoops said.

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