Cattle prices fall on beef demand concerns - CME

Lean hog futures firm
calendar icon 1 December 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures dropped on Thursday after two sessions of gains, pressured by fund long liquidation and as higher corn feed prices and worries about demand for high-priced beef cuts hung over the market, reported Reuters.

Technical selling accelerated the break, the live cattle market's sixth in the last eight sessions, despite firmer wholesale beef values and cash cattle prices that remain at a large premium to futures.

Prices were volatile at times as generally supportive fundamentals were overshadowed by speculative money flows, traders said.

"There's a lot of choppiness. People are unsure whether to go with the demand side of the equation, which is iffy, or the supply side, which is bullish longer term," said independent trader Dan Norcini, citing an historically small US cattle herd.

Actively traded February live cattle were 1.650 cents lower at 171.825 cents per pound, with technical selling accelerating the decline after prices failed to breach overhead chart resistance at its 10-day moving average.

January feeder cattle were down 2.250 cents at 219.950 cents per pound, pressured by a 1.5% jump in benchmark corn futures prices on Thursday.

In a weekly report on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said net US beef export sales fell to 10,613 metric tons for shipment this year and next, down 26% from the prior week.

The choice boxed beef price on Thursday, however, rose $1.99 to $299.02 per cwt, while select cuts gained 66 cents to $264.75 per cwt, the USDA said.

CME lean hog futures firmed for a third straight day, a multi-session rally that have lifted prices by almost 7%.

February hogs added 1.375 cents to settle at 71.475 cents per pound.

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