US cattle futures fall on technical trading - CME

Lean hog futures ended the day lower
calendar icon 20 December 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures closed lower on Tuesday on technical trading and investors adjusting their positions ahead of a series of key government reports, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

Lean hog futures also ended the day lower.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Friday is slated to issue quarterly data on the size of the US hog herd, along with separate monthly reports on the number of US cattle on feed and on inventories of frozen meat in US cold storage facilities.

The US hog herd was likely about 0.5% smaller on Dec. 1 compared to a year earlier, a Reuters survey of analysts showed on Tuesday ahead of the USDA's quarterly Hogs and Pigs report.

In the cattle markets, live cattle futures early in the session extended their gains from Monday, bringing futures more in line with recent cash prices.

But that upward trend shifted as traders are beginning to question how long consumer demand will remain strong, despite high prices and growing concerns about the economy, said Karl Setzer, a partner at Consus Ag Consulting.

Cattle carcass weights are also increasing, as the relatively mild U.S. winter has meant that animals are not showing signs of weight loss as can be common during extended cold conditions, Setzer said.

"There is a growing sense in the trade that the production side is outweighing what the demand for beef will be after the holidays," Setzer said.

CME's most-active live cattle February contract settled down 0.850 cent lower, at 168.775 cents per pound. And CME January feeder cattle fell 1.275 cents to 221.900 cents per pound.

In the pork market, CME February lean hogs closed 1.025 cents lower, at 70.550 cents per pound.

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