U.S. livestock: Cattle, hogs gain on pre-holiday technical buying

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange livestock futures were mostly higher on Tuesday, with some hog and cattle contracts hitting multi-month peaks on technical buying ahead of Wednesday’s U.S. Independence Day holiday, traders and analysts said.

CME July lean hog futures climbed to their highest since Feb. 26, settling up 0.525 cent to 83.725 cents/lb., while most active August hogs were up 1.625 cents, to 76 cents (all figures US$).

Some investors were exiting positions ahead of the holiday on Wednesday. China on Friday also will impose 25 per cent tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods including pork and soybeans.

“There’s a lot of risk in these markets and a lot of traders who didn’t want to have anything to do with that for the rest of the week,” Zaner Ag Hedge analyst Ted Seifried said.

“Demand (for hogs and cattle) up front is good. We’re worried, longer term, that there’s a lot of animals and demand won’t be as good,” Seifried added.

Hog prices were buoyed by higher cash hog prices and strong demand from pork packers. Hogs in the top physical market in Iowa and southern Minnesota were 52 cents higher at $79.07/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An estimated 463,000 hogs were slaughtered, matching Monday’s kill that was the largest in more than a month.

CME August live cattle settled down 0.45 cent, to 106.45 cents/lb., while all other deferred contracts were

CME August feeder cattle were up 0.875 cent, to 152.8 cents/lb. The contract earlier reached 153.25 cents, highest since March 6.

CME livestock futures trading will resume on Thursday.

The Independence Day holiday is one of the most popular days for outdoor grilling in the U.S. and traders will be watching wholesale meat prices for clues on how much beef and pork was sold.

Choice-graded boxed beef on Wednesday was down $1.62, to $210.26/cwt, and wholesale pork was down 85 cents, to $85.80/cwt, according to USDA.

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

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