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CME update: live cattle futures close lower despite market optimism

02 June 2020

US live cattle futures closed lower on 1 June despite strength in cash markets.

Reuters reports that cattle trading in the cash market were at a significant premium to nearby futures.

The USDA confirmed that market-ready cattle traded at $118 per hundred weight in the southern Plains on 1 June. The organisation termed the price “unevenly steady” with the bulk of last week’s trade. CME June live cattle settled on Monday at 98.300 cents per pound, down 1.425 cents for the day. The most-active August live cattle futures ended down 0.625 cent at 98.975 cents per pound.

Feeder cattle futures bucked the trend, however, with benchmark August finishing 0.775 cent higher at 136.125 cents per pound.

The US daily slaughter pace has been improving since April, when coronavirus outbreaks among workers forced numerous pork and beef packing plants to close. But a backlog of market-ready hogs and cattle persists, a factor that hangs over the futures market. A full recovery "could be a ways off," said Rich Nelson of Allendale Inc.

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