Cattle futures hit highs on tightening supply - CME

Lean hog futures settle up
calendar icon 3 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures rose on Thursday to life-of-contract highs, as traders continued to digest this week's semiannual cattle report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that showed a 3% year-on-year drop in the size of the US cattle herd, reported Reuters.

"The markets should be friendly because those (cattle) numbers are really tight," said Sherman Newlin, an analyst with Risk Management Commodities.

CME benchmark April live cattle futures settled up 1.600 cents at 163.825 cents per pound after notching a contract high at 163.925 cents. Front-month February live cattle ended up 1.325 cents at 159.750 cents after setting its contract high at 159.900 cents.

CME March feeder cattle futures rose 2.675 cents to settle at 185.925 cents per pound, but stayed inside the previous day's trading range.

Boxed beef prices were nearly flat, pausing after a three-week slide that analysts say reflects a seasonal lull in beef demand between Christmas and the summer grilling season.

The USDA priced choice cuts of beef at $265.10 per hundredweight (cwt), up 3 cents from Wednesday. Select cuts were up 88 cents at $253.66 per cwt.

The USDA reported export sales of US beef in the week ended Jan. 26 at 25,200 tonnes, with South Korea, Japan and China listed as the week's biggest buyers. 

In the hog markets, CME February lean hog futures settled up 1.375 cents at 75.350 cents per pound, while most-active April hogs ended up 1.700 cents at 86.000 cents.

Weekly US pork sales for the week to Jan. 26 totaled 30,900 tonnes, with Mexico booking 15,100 tonnes.

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