U.S. livestock: Live cattle stabilize, beef prices fall further

Technical buying supports CME lean hogs

CME June 2020 live cattle with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures stabilized on Monday after falling last week as beef prices weakened, traders said.

The market is expected to remain under pressure as beef production continues to recover from disruptions in April and May linked to coronavirus outbreaks among workers at meatpacking plants.

Meat processors slaughtered an estimated 117,000 cattle on Monday, up from 110,000 a week earlier and down from 119,000 a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wholesale beef prices have dropped from historic highs as production has improved. The choice boxed beef cutout, an indicator of wholesale prices, fell to $256.33/cwt on Monday, down $5.15 from Friday, when cutout dropped $10, according to USDA (all figures US$).

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) June live cattle futures settled up 0.225 cent at 94.125 cents/lb. The benchmark August contract rose 0.15 cents to 96.325 cents, after hitting a one-month low on Friday.

CME August feeder cattle futures closed down 1.1 cents at 133.075 cents/lb.

In the pork market, CME lean hog futures closed mostly higher as technical buying continued to support prices, traders said. June lean hogs ended up 1.125 cents at 48.575 cents/lb., while most-active July futures settled up 0.05 cent at 53.975 cents.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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