Live cattle futures steady to higher - CME

Lean hogs sink to 3-month low
calendar icon 11 January 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) lean hog futures fell on Tuesday for the eighth time in nine sessions on concerns about pork demand and slumping pork prices, Reuters reported, citing traders.

The actively traded February lean hog contract dropped to a three-month low as packer margins eroded and the pork cutout price slid to the lowest in a year.

"There are traders expecting pork demand to pick up as prices go down to these levels. We're waiting for some confirmation and whenever there's a lack of confirmation you get discouraged selling by longs and some fresh short selling by funds," said independent livestock trader Dan Norcini.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) quoted the pork cutout at $81.73 per cwt on Tuesday, down 62 cents from the prior day and the tenth decline in 11 sessions. It was also the lowestpork cutout since Jan. 11, 2022.

The average pork packer margin on Tuesday fell to an estimated $4.65 per head, down from $15.00 a week ago, according to marketing advisory service 

CME February lean hogs ended 1.000 cent lower at 79.800 cents per pound after slumping during the session to the lowest point since Oct. 5.

Live cattle futures were steady to higher on Tuesday on tightening supplies and a firm cash market outlook.

Average cattle weights have declined, according to USDA data, following recent stressful conditions at feedlots due to harsh winter weather. The lighter cattle weights would reduce total beef production and underpin prices, traders said.

Cash cattle prices at Plains feedlot markets are expected to be steady to higher when trading develops later this week, they said.

February live cattle ended unchanged at 157.750 cents per pound while April futures were up 0.125 cent at 161.650 cents. March feeder cattle futures gained 0.200 cent to 186.500 cents per pound.

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