Chicago | Reuters — Live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) closed higher on Wednesday, led by the nearby August contract on signs of firmer cash cattle prices and technical buying, traders said.
Market-ready cattle traded in the cash market at $95-$97/cwt in the southern Plains, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported, after trading at $95 a day earlier (all figures US$).
“Today’s online exchange saw 275 head of cattle sell at $95.50-$95.75/cwt, suggesting a possible near-term bottom in the market and supporting fresh buying on the board,” StoneX chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman wrote in a client note.
CME August live cattle futures settled up 2.5 cents at 101.3 cents/lb. after reaching 101.8 cents, the contract’s highest since May 8. October live cattle rose 1.45 cents to finish at 104.55 cents.
CME August feeder cattle futures settled up 2.7 cents at 139.425 cents/lb.
Prices for choice cuts of boxed beef on Wednesday afternoon fell 16 cents, to $200.76/cwt, but select cuts rose 52 cents, to $191.37/cwt, according to USDA.
CME lean hog futures closed mixed, with the August contract up 0.225 cent at 50.15 cents/lb. and October down 0.25 cent at 49.425 cents.
The U.S. pork cutout, an indication of wholesale prices, rose $2.71 on Wednesday afternoon to $68.95/cwt.
Traders awaited Thursday’s weekly export sales report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture which should show whether China, the world’s top pork consumer, was a significant buyer of U.S. pork in the week ended July 9.
— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.