U.S. livestock: Cattle gain on higher beef prices, lower corn

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. cattle futures rose about one per cent on Friday, with feeder cattle extending gains to the third straight session as wholesale beef prices rose and corn prices fell.

Higher prices for meat and lower prices for animal feed boost profits in the cattle sector. Greening pastures also increased demand for lighter-weight cattle for grazing, which contributed to gains in feeder cattle.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange April feeder cattle futures settled 2.05 cents higher at 126.675 cents/lb., the highest levels in about 1-1/2 months (all figures US$).

CME April live cattle futures were up 1.11 cents to a one-week high of 117.6 cents.

Investors also continued to roll cattle positions out of April contracts and into deferred months such as June live cattle and May feeders, in the fourth day of a five-day roll.

It was unknown what impact wildfires might have on livestock markets. Fires swept through parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, burning nearly two million acres and killing hundreds of cattle and thousands of hogs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture after the close of futures trading said choice-grade wholesale beef jumped $4.27, to $219.83/cwt. Wholesale pork prices were up 13 cents, to $81.88/cwt.

CME lean hog futures were narrowly mixed in rangebound trade. CME April hogs were up 0.1 cent, to 68.175 cents/lb., while June hog futures eased 0.025 cent to 76.9 cents.

Average cash hog prices were down 82 cents to $66.92 in the top market of Iowa and southern Minnesota, USDA said.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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