US cattle futures advance - CME

Hogs retreat after contract highs
calendar icon 6 March 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) lean hog futures ended lower as traders locked in profits on Tuesday after the market scaled to contract highs for deferred months, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

Cattle futures advanced at the CME.

The hog market pulled back after June, July and August futures reached new highs. Prices have jumped this year on improving demand for U.S. pork, including export sales, analysts said.

"We got overbought," said Matt Wiegand, commodity broker for FuturesOne. "We're probably due for a pullback, a consolidative move."

Most-active April lean hogs settled 1.1 cents weaker at 85.175 cents per pound. June hogs closed 0.525 cent lower at 101.600 cents per pound after earlier setting a high of 103 cents.

Hog slaughtering fell to 454,000 hogs from 491,000 hogs a week ago, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Smithfield Foods said its massive processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, was closed due to a wastewater issue. The company expects to resume normal operations on Wednesday, a spokesman said.

US slaughtering is up about 1.2% so far this year, according to the USDA. The increase is seen as a sign of stronger pork demand, analysts said.

The USDA said meatpackers also slaughtered an estimated 122,000 cattle on Tuesday, compared to 125,000 cattle a week ago. Cattle slaughtering is down about 5.3% this year, as US supplies have dwindled to their lowest levels in seven decades.

CME live cattle futures have traded sideways amid uncertainty about whether packers will pay higher cash prices to buy cattle, Wiegand said. Feeder cattle futures, meanwhile, got a boost from falling corn prices that made feed costs look cheaper, he said. 

April live cattle settled up 1.325 cents at 188 cents per pound. April feeder cattle rose 1.425 cents to 257.175 cents per pound.

The USDA reported the choice boxed beef cutout at $304.79 per cwt, which was down $1.51, and the select boxed beef cutout at $294.87 per cwt, down $0.30.

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