US cattle, hog futures decline amid demand worries - CME

Tyson Foods to close two US chicken plants
calendar icon 15 March 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) livestock markets ended lower again on Tuesday, with cattle and hog futures easing on demand concerns, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

Front-month feeder cattle futures hit their lowest price since March 3, extending a retreat from a 2015 high reached last week. Front-month live cattle, meanwhile, touched a three-low on Monday.

"The cattle and hog markets continue to face some long liquidation on demand worries," said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for StoneX.

CME April live cattle ended 0.500 cent weaker at 163.050 cents per pound.

CME April feeder cattle finished 1.325 cent lower at 195.750 cents per pound and touched its lowest price since March 3 at 195.350 cents. Last week, April feeders set a contract high of 200.775 cents.

March feeders, which are thinly traded, closed down 0.900 cent at 189.925 cents a pound, compared to the 2015 high of 194.325 cents for the front-month contract last week.

CME lean hogs were also weaker, with the April contract finishing down 0.825 cent at 85.400 cents per pound.

Brokers remain uncertain about demand for US beef and pork after the US Department of Agriculture reported sluggish weekly export sales last week.

US beef exports in January fell 15% by volume, while pork exports rose 13% by volume, the latest monthly USDA data show.

"Really the export demand on beef and pork has slowed considerably," a commodity broker said.

The USDA, in monthly data due on Friday, is expected to report the number of cattle on feed as of March 1 was down 4.5% from a year earlier, analysts said. A drought in the US has prodded ranchers to reduce their herds.

The USDA said separately that total red meat and poultry production in 2023 is forecast to drop for the first time in nearly a decade, mostly due to a 6% decline in beef production.

In other news, meat company Tyson Foods Inc will close two US chicken plants with almost 1,700 employees on May 12, the company said.

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