Live cattle end firm as avian influenza selloff seen overdone - CME

Lean hog futures rise for fourth straight session
calendar icon 5 April 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures firmed on Thursday in a bargain-buying rebound from the prior session's two-month lows, as some investors deemed the recent drop in prices to be overdone, reported Reuters.

Benchmark June live cattle have dropped about 4% in two weeks, including a near-limit-down session last Monday, as rising cases of avian influenza in cattle sparked some concerns about consumer demand for beef.

"People are re-evaluating the extent of that selloff, and some people think that a selloff to that degree was simply not warranted," said independent livestock trader Dan Norcini.

"We haven't changed a thing in terms of cattle supplies ... We've got cattle numbers at a 70-year low. That is not going to change because we have bird flu scare," he said.

Seasonally rising meat demand for upcoming Mother's Day restaurant visits and for outdoor cookouts as the weather warms also underpinned the market.

CME June live cattle ended up 0.250 cent at 175.850 cents per pound, with gains capped by current heavier-than-usual weights on marketed cattle.

Spot April cattle rose 0.550 cent to 181.475 cents per pound, supported by the contract's discount to cash market prices, while deferred futures contracts were up as much as 1.250 cents.

Feeder cattle futures followed live cattle, with actively traded May futures closing up 1.300 cents at 243.875 cents per pound.

CME lean hog futures rose for a fourth straight session and posted contract highs in several months on robust demand for pork.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated the pork carcass cutout value on Thursday at $98.15 per cwt, up $3.24 from a day earlier.

June hogs settled up 0.250 cent at 105.000 cents per pound.

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