Cattle futures end mixed on technical resistance - CME

Lean hogs firm
calendar icon 12 February 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) lean hog futures turned higher on Friday, bolstered by export sales that include China buying US pork supplies for their open market, Reuters reported, citing traders.

Meanwhile, live cattle and feeder cattle futures were mixed on the day, as April live cattle futures put in a double-top on the charts and both markets showed signs of facing strong technical resistance.

"The feeders are hanging in there, but at these prices - and even with the cheaper corn, there's not much of a margin for profit in them right now," said Karl Setzer, partner of Consus Ag Consulting.

The cattle market continued to feel pressure from winter weather storms, where snow and ice in parts of the US Plains have now given way to muddy fields, said Don Roose, president of US Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

"All that mud is impacting cattle performance" and their ability to gain weight, Roose said.

While trade on the cash cattle market was somewhat limited this week in parts of the central US, one lot of more than 1,000 head of cattle traded at $179 per hundredweight (cwt) in Iowa, traders said.

Going into next week, one broker said, the market's expectation is for prices to continue to rise, with producers offering live cattle at $182 per cwt or more.

Wholesale beef prices were lower on Friday morning, with choice cuts priced at $294.14 per cwt, down 87 cents from Thursday, while select cuts were $1.34 lower at $282.78 per cwt, according to USDA data.

The pace of cattle slaughter slowed on Friday. And beef packer margins remained in the red, according to Denver-based livestock marketing advisory service LLC.

April live cattle ended 0.150-cent higher at 186.725 cents per pound. March feeder cattle settled up 0.300-cent at 247.150 cents per pound.

CME benchmark April lean hog futures settled up 0.800-cent at 81.150 cents per pound.

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