US cattle rise on higher cash price expectations - CME

Hogs hit new lows
calendar icon 6 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures firmed on Wednesday on expectations for higher US cash prices this week, as lean hog futures set contract lows, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

Cash cattle were bid at about $168 per cwt in the southern Plains, roughly $1 higher than the bulk of trading last week, said Dennis Smith, commodity broker for Archer Financial Services. Meatpackers will need to pay more to strike deals, he said.

"If they want the cattle, they're going to have to bid higher than $168," Smith said, adding that prices may rise to $170 per cwt.

Meat processors slaughtered an estimated 123,000 cattle on Wednesday, down from 127,000 cattle a week ago and 124,000 cattle last year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

The agency reported boxed beef prices rose, while said processors' margins climbed to $80.15 per head of cattle from $59.15 per head on Tuesday and $52.45 per head a week ago.

April live cattle finished 0.800 cent stronger at 168.400 cents per pound, and June live cattle ended up 0.075 cent at 160.300 cents per pound.

May feeder cattle stumbled 0.175 cent to close at 202.100 cents per pound and touched a one-week low.

Traders are monitoring the effects of wintry weather on livestock in parts of the northern Midwest and Plains.

Blizzard conditions are increasing livestock stress in the Plains and disrupting travel in South Dakota and neighboring states, the USDA said in a report.

In the pork market, April lean hogs ended up 1.175 cents at 73.400 cents per pound, after sinking to a low of 71.975 cents per pound.

Deferred contracts finished weaker, with June hogs falling 1.2 cents to 88.375 cents per pound and setting a low of 87.400 cents per pound.

The USDA priced the pork carcass cutout at $76.56 per cwt, down 29 cents from Tuesday, as belly values tumbled $9.26.

"There's no demand for pork, which is really strange given the demand for beef is red hot," Smith said.

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