Live cattle futures top two-week highs - CME

Hogs ease
calendar icon 29 March 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures topped another two-week high on Tuesday before finishing slightly firmer, while lean hog futures ended lower, Reuters reported.

Technical buying helped support gains in cattle, as the market has rebounded after nearing a two-month low last week, brokers said.

A smaller US cattle herd is also supportive for futures over the long term, though supply concerns have been factored in somewhat, said Jim Gerlach, president of brokerage A/C Trading in Indiana.

"A lot of it is already in the market in terms of pricing," Gerlach said.

CME April live cattle settled up 0.050 cent at 164.950 cents per pound. June cattle edged up 0.025 cent at 158.900 cents per pound. Both contracts earlier touched their highest prices since March 10 for the second consecutive session.

CME feeder cattle weakened, with the April contract easing 0.400 cent to 197.225 cents per pound. May feeders declined 0.575 cent to close at 200.800 cents.

Wholesale boxed beef prices rose. Choice cuts were priced at $280.63 per cwt, up 27 cents from Monday, according to U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) data. Select cuts were up 64 cents at $270.36 per cwt.

In the pork market, the USDA priced the carcass cutout at $80 per hundredweight (cwt), down $1.22 from Monday, as belly values dropped.

Traders are waiting for the USDA to issue a quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on Thursday. Analysts surveyed by Reuters estimate the US hog herd on March 1 was 0.2% bigger than a year earlier.

The USDA is separately slated to issue weekly US export sales data on Thursday for pork, beef and grains. US pork is attractively priced on the global market, Gerlach said.

"It's the cheapest in the world," he said. "We're significantly cheaper than Europe."

Front-month CME April lean hogs ended 0.875 cent lower at 77.750 cents per pound. June hogs slipped 0.350 cent to 92.725 cents per pound.

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