Cattle futures extend climb on cash market strength - CME

Lean hog futures rose as well
calendar icon 29 January 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures climbed to 2-1/2 month highs on Friday, rising for a fourth straight session on firm cash cattle markets this week coupled with technical buying and strong wholesale beef prices, reported Reuters.

CME April live cattle futures settled up 0.975 cent on Friday at 181.675 cents per pound after reaching 182.150 cents, the contract's highest point since Nov. 9.

CME March feeder cattle rose 1.525 cents to end at 239.700 cents per pound, supported in part by a slide in prices for corn that signalled lower feed costs.

Cattle futures drew strength as cash cattle traded at $174 to $175 per hundredweight (cwt) in Texas and Kansas this week, up about $1 from last week. However, the cattle slaughter pace on Friday fell to 121,000 head from 126,000 a day earlier, and the USDA projected Saturday's kill at only 5,000 head, compared to 34,000 head a week ago.

US wholesale beef prices rose on Friday, with choice cuts priced at $300.53 per cwt, up $1.85 from Thursday, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Weather issues in the Plains and Midwest remain a supportive factor, even though temperatures have moderated after bitter cold earlier this month.

"We don't have the cold, but guys in feedlots in the west, they're going to be staying in a mud for a while," which can stress cattle and curb weight gain, said Matt Wiegand, commodity broker for FuturesOne.

CME lean hog futures rose on Friday as well. The benchmark April contract settled up 0.700 cent at 83.250 cents per pound after reaching 84 cents, its highest since Sept. 28.

The CME's Lean Hog Index, a two-day weighted average of cash prices, rose to 69.67 cents per pound, its highest reading since Dec. 1.

The USDA priced the pork carcass cutout late Friday at $89.51 per cwt, up 60 cents from Thursday but below this week's top of $90.17.

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