US cattle markets jump to multi-month highs - CME

Strong pork export sales report drive lean hog futures
calendar icon 19 February 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Cattle futures climbed to multi-month highs at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) on Friday on concerns about tightening supplies and as the market recovered from declines earlier this week, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

The US cattle herd is at its smallest level in more than seven decades after drought in recent years reduced the amount of pasture for grazing.

Big speculators are eager to establish long positions in the markets because recent US government reports have confirmed the tightness in supplies, said Dan Norcini, an independent livestock trader.

Meatpackers are slowing the pace of cattle slaughtering because they are losing money processing limited inventories into beef, traders said, adding that this reduction kept a lid on the cash market.

"My bias is cash will still work higher as we move through this month and the coming months," said Ross Baldwin, hedge strategist for

April live cattle futures closed up 1.95 cents at 187.550 cents per pound, hitting the highest level since Nov. 3.

March feeder cattle rallied 3.925 cents to end at 251.025 cents per pound and reached the highest level since Oct. 19.

"It was a very strong recovery in the past two trading sessions after we had a healthy correction across the markets to start the week," Baldwin said.

Next week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is slated to issue monthly Cattle on Feed data and a separate report on frozen meat supplies in cold storage facilities.

After trading ended on Friday, the USDA said in an email that it published incorrect data on Thursday that showed large increases in weekly US pork export sales and shipments. The data will be updated next week, the USDA said.

A strong US pork export sales report drove CME lean hog futures on Thursday to their highest level since the market hit a four-month high on Jan. 30.

CME April hogs settled up 0.225 cent at 85.225 cents per pound on Friday, but remained below Thursday's high.

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