U.S. livestock: Cattle mostly sharply higher on roll, beef gains

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures were mostly sharply higher on Monday, rising as investors rolled positions forward and as wholesale beef prices extended gains, traders and analysts said.

Feeder cattle and lean hogs also climbed at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, with all three recouping a portion of the losses notched on Friday due to profit-taking. Most cattle contracts were trading just below lifetime peaks reached earlier last week amid rising prices for cattle in Plains cash markets.

“We’re just continuing the rally we’ve had the last few weeks,” said Steiner Consulting Group analyst Altin Kalo. “Going into Friday, (investors) wanted to take some money off the table and now they’re back to it.”

Traders were liquidating holdings in front-month CME June live cattle, rolling into August and October on the second of the five-day roll for traders tracking Standard + Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index.

June live cattle eased 0.525 cent to 127.775 cents/lb. while all other contracts gained. August cattle were up 2.075 cents to 123.25 cents.

August cattle extended gains after the U.S. Department of Agriculture at midday said choice wholesale beef was $1.61 higher at $240.48/cwt, the highest since September 2015.

Retailers were finalizing plans for the meat they will put on sale for the U.S. Memorial Day holiday on the final Monday of the month — the unofficial start of summer outdoor grilling season, analysts said.

Lean hog futures hit their highest since March 24, boosted by seasonally tightening U.S. hog supplies and expectations that pork was priced to compete with beef for space in refrigerated meat cases and barbecue grills.

Most-active CME June hog futures settled up 1.05 cent to 77.375 cents/lb.

“Slaughter numbers start to decline in May, (animal) weights go down due to the weather, and demand gets a little bit better as people buy more protein for the grill,” Kalo said of hogs.

CME August feeder cattle gained 3.225 cents to 156.65 cents/lb.

Feeder prices were steady to $3 per cwt higher at a closely watched cash cattle auction in Oklahoma City, according to USDA.

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

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