Live cattle hit March high as US beef prices increase - CME

June lean hog futures end down
calendar icon 20 May 2024
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures extended gains to a March high on Friday as wholesale US beef prices continued a steep climb, reported Reuters.

Feeder cattle reached their highest price since late April, while lean hogs hit a three-month low at the CME.

Livestock traders eyed beef prices ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, the start of the summer grilling season.

The choice boxed beef cutout value surged by $3.30 to $313.45 per cwt, after rising more than $15 over the previous four days, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said. Select cuts crept up $0.89 to $297.40 per cwt after increasing more than $12 over the prior four days.

CME June live cattle hit the highest level since March 26 before settling up 2.025 cents at 181.050 cents per pound. The contract ended about 2.8% higher for the week, after dropping during the previous two weeks.

CME August feeder cattle closed 2.5 cents higher at 259.85 cents per pound and set the highest price since April 29. The contract rose about 3.6% for the week.

A setback in corn prices has helped to boost feeder cattle futures by signalling feed costs will decline, traders said. Corn futures lost 3.7% for the week after rising the previous three weeks.

Ranchers are using cheaper grains to raise cattle to heavier weights, offsetting reduced herd numbers, traders said.

Next week, the USDA is slated report monthly data on the number of cattle in US feedlots and on supplies of frozen meat in US cold storage facilities.

In CME's lean hog market, June futures ended down 1.875 cents at 96.5 cents per pound and hit the lowest price since Feb. 14. The contract lost 1.9% for the week in its fourth consecutive weekly decline.

The US pork carcass cutout edged up by $0.58 to $100.85 per cwt, according to USDA data. Cutout values for pork bellies jumped by $5.77 to $129.33 per cwt.

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