U.S. livestock: Cattle futures mixed, hogs firm

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures were mixed on Wednesday, with deferred months mostly higher on bargain buying after hitting multiyear lows on Tuesday.

But nearby live cattle contracts continued to weaken. The front-month contract hit its lowest level since October 2016 on expectations that the shutdown of a major beef production plant after a fire will limit demand for cattle for months.

Both live cattle and fed cattle contracts posted sharp losses on Monday and Tuesday as the market assessed the impact of a fire at meat processor Tyson Foods’ Holcomb, Kansas plant.

CME August live cattle ended down 0.35 cent at 100.2 cents/lb. (all figures US$). October was 0.75 cent lower at 98.5 cents, but the rest of the deferred months settled in positive territory.

CME August feeder cattle ended 6.75 cents higher, the daily trading limit, at 134.475 cents/lb. September feeder cattle futures were 5.625 cents higher at 132.825 cents/lb.

Lean hogs also were stronger but gains were kept in check due to ample supplies.

CME October hogs ended the day up 2.2 cents at 66.775 cents/lb.

The thinly traded August lean hogs contract settled up 0.4 cent at 79.4 cents/lb.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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