Cattle futures extend losses despite higher beef prices

Lean hog futures finish higher
calendar icon 23 January 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures dropped on Monday for a second session, shrugging off support from rising wholesale beef prices, as traders locked in profits after the contract scaled a two-month high last week, reported Reuters.

CME April live cattle futures settled down 0.475 cent at 176.900 cents per pound, extending its pullback after rising on Thursday to 177.975 cents, the highest level since Nov. 22, 2023.

March feeder cattle ended Monday down 0.675 cent at 231.275 cents per pound.

In the beef market, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) priced choice cuts at $298.67 per hundredweight (cwt) on Monday afternoon, up $3.17 from Friday and the highest reading since Nov. 30. Select cuts rose $3.53 to $286.58 per cwt.

Meat-packing plants slaughtered an estimated 115,000 cattle on Monday, up from 112,000 a week ago, but down from the year-ago total of 122,981, the USDA said. Packing houses are working to catch up after the US slaughtering pace had slowed earlier this month by frigid weather across the Plains and Midwest.

Monthly feedlot data released late Friday by the USDA was generally in line with expectations and offered little direction for the futures market, traders said. The USDA reported 11.9 million cattle in US feedlots, as of Jan. 1, up 2.1% from a year earlier, but near analysts' expectations.

Placements of cattle in feedlots during December totaled 1.70 million head, down 4.5% from 2022, near the 4.6% decline that analysts expected.

Hog futures ended mixed. CME February lean hog futures finished 0.175 cent higher at 70.925 cents per pound while most-active Aprilhogs settled down 0.525 cent at 77.625 cents.

The CME's Lean Hog Index, a two-day weighted average of cash prices, rose to 68.06 cents per pound, the highest reading since Dec. 12.

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