US lean hogs firm, live cattle ease - CME

US beef herd continues to tighten
calendar icon 2 December 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Lean hog futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) firmed on Thursday, erasing the week's earlier losses as smaller supplies of market-ready hogs offset seasonal pressure, reported Reuters.

"Fundamentally, we know we're fairly tight on supplies. We're not getting expansion," said Alan Brugler, president of Brugler Marketing.

The CME February lean hogs contract added 3.850 cents to 89.200 cents per pound, a 4.5% daily gain. The nearby December hog contract firmed 0.225 cents to 83.125 cents per pound.

Processors slaughtered 492,000 hogs, up 9,000 from the same week a year ago.

The CME's lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash hog prices, fell 32 cents to $83.89 per cwt.

Meanwhile, live cattle eased, while feeder cattle climbed for a third consecutive session as analysts expect the US herd to continue to tighten.

"We liquidated a lot of cows because of no grass. We also put a lot of heifers in the feed lots," said Brugler. "The really tight supplies in cattle are probably through the last half of 2023, into 2024."

CME benchmark February live cattle eased 0.250 cent to 155.425 cents per pound. The spot December contract lost 0.025 cent to 153.050 cents per pound.

CME January feeder cattle added 0.600 cents to 181.075 cents per pound.

Cash cattle traded steady in the northern US plains at $158 per cwt., but was steady-to-firmer in parts of the southern plains at $155 per cwt., the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

Boxed beef prices fell on Thursday, with choice cuts slipping $1.31 cents to $253.57 per cwt, while select cuts fell 1 cent to $255.00 per cwt, the USDA said.

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