US cattle futures rise; icy weather threatens herds - CME

Lean hog futures finish higher
calendar icon 12 January 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Cattle futures jumped at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) on Thursday on concerns over frigid temperatures that threaten US herds, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

Lean hog futures also finished higher.

Traders were watching weather forecasts closely after cold, snow and wind stranded meatpacking workers in Kansas on Monday. On Tuesday, major processors Cargill and Tyson Foods shut massive beef plants in the state, reducing daily slaughtering and backing up some animals on farms.

"Livestock producers throughout the Midwest are preparing for a variety of upcoming weather hazards, including bitterly cold conditions and, for some locations, a second round of heavy snow in less than a week," the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a daily weather report.

Most-active CME February live cattle futures advanced 1.050 cents to 171.800 cents per pound. The contract is up about 2% this year, after dropping in December to its lowest price in more than year.

March feeder cattle finished up 1.275 cents at 227.400 cents per pound.

Bitter cold tends to slow cattle weight gains, while hazardous conditions disrupt movement of livestock to processing plants.

"You look at some of these cold and blistering temperatures, and it's going to be hard for cattle to put on weight over the weekend," said Austin Schroeder, analyst for Brugler Marketing & Management in Nebraska.

"You can mix that in with snow issues and transportation issues, and you can get a little bit of strength."

Meatpackers on Thursday slaughtered an estimated 120,000 cattle, compared to 126,000 a week ago, the USDA said. Packers also slaughtered an estimated 490,000 hogs on Thursday, compared to 491,000 hogs a week ago.

CME February lean hog futures finished up 0.525 cent at 72.600 cents per pound.

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