Live cattle, lean hog futures ease - CME

Tight supply remains in focus
calendar icon 29 December 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group live cattle futures eased on Wednesday, after moving higher in the previous session, as traders watch for smaller supplies of market-ready cattle moving through the system, reported Reuters

Snow and ice across the US Great Plains last week will likely also reduce supply, shrinking weights of market-ready cattle.

"The recent weather is only exacerbating supply issues because the cattle aren't going to perform as well and there could have been some death loss in the feeder cattle areas," said Doug Houghton, technical analyst at Brock Capital Management.

Benchmark CME February live cattle eased 0.075 cent to 157.800 cents per pound.

On a continuous basis live cattle future climbed to 157.5 cents per pound, the highest since April 30, 2015.

March feeder cattle futures added 0.800 cents to 186.200 cents per pound.

Meat prices were mixed on Wednesday, with boxed beef choice cuts down 63 cents to $279.41 per hundredweight (cwt) and select cuts gaining $1.64 to $247.8 per cwt, the USDA said.

Cattle slaughter improved after diminished pace due to last week's winter storm, with 128,000 head processed on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, CME's lean hog futures eased on technical selling, while the outlook for early 2023 remains strong.

"The overall picture for hog futures is pretty firm. The inventory report indicates that slaughter levels should be falling off pretty good in the first quarter, compared to this past quarter," said Houghton.

Pork demand in the spring and summer is typically stronger, though an economic recession could limit consumer demand.

CME February lean hogs stepped back 0.675 cents to 90.800 cents per pound.

The CME's Lean Hog Index a two-day weighted average of cash hog prices, eased 14 cents to $78.60 per cwt.

Hog slaughter jumped to 490,000 head on Wednesday, after dropping to less than 100,000 a day during the height of the winter storm last week. Slaughter pace is expected to continue lagging during the shortened holiday week.

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