Live cattle, nearby feeder cattle futures firm - CME

Lean hog futures turn sharply lower
calendar icon 9 February 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle and nearby feeder cattle futures turned higher on Thursday, supported by weakness in the corn market and anticipation that the cash market will continue to firm, Reuters reported, citing traders.

Some cattle traded for $179 per head in Iowa's cash cattle market on Thursday, up from last week's prices, one trader said.

Lean hog futures turned sharply lower early in session, as the market continued to react to Wednesday afternoon's news of pork carcass cut-out values were down from the previous day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

But by later in the day, prices had bounced off those lows after USDA reported Thursday morning that pork cut-out values had firmed, traders said.

USDA reported Thursday morning that choice boxed beef cutout was down 88 cents at $294.10 per hundredweight (cwt), while select cuts gained 48 cents to $285.90 per cwt.

April live cattle ended 1.775 cents higher at 186.575 cents per pound. March feeder cattle settled up 1.300 cents at 246.850 cents per pound.

CME benchmark April lean hog futures settled down 0.750 cent at 80.350 cents per pound.

Export sales also gave a boost to the livestock market on the day, particularly for the cattle markets, said Dan Norcini, an independent livestock trader.

Export sales of US pork in the week to Jan. 25 totalled 39,900 metric tons, primarily for China, USDA said. US beef exports for the same period totalled 20,600 metric tons, primarily for South Korea and China, USDA said.

"That is a solid export number for the beef," Norcini said.

Karl Setzer, a partner at Consus Ag Consulting, said in an analyst note Thursday that US Census data shows the US exported 252.3 million pounds of beef in December of 2023, a four-month high; and that US pork exports in December "were the second largest on record".

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