U.S. livestock: CME cattle end firm, hogs ease on profit-taking

Feeder cattle futures touch two-week top

CME April 2021 feeder cattle with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures edged higher on Friday on technical buying and as feeder cattle futures hit a two-week top on optimism about softening feed prices, analysts said.

CME April live cattle settled up 0.475 cent at 119 cents/lb., holding above chart support at its 100-day moving average (all figures US$).

April feeder cattle futures settled up 1.95 cent at 143.225 cents/lb., after reaching 143.85, the contract’s highest since Feb. 26.

“Feeder cattle led the protein complex higher on weak feed prices amid strengthening demand prospects,” StoneX chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman wrote in a client note.

In the hog market, CME lean hog futures ended narrowly mixed with the most-active April and June contracts modestly lower on profit-taking after setting life-of-contract highs.

However, firming cash hog prices and recent strength in wholesale pork values underpinned the market.

CME April lean hog futures settled down 0.1 cent at 91.4 cents/lb., a day after setting a contract high at 91.7 cents. June hogs set a fresh contract high on Friday at 99.4 cents but turned lower to close down 0.125 cent at 99 cents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the pork carcass cutout value on Friday afternoon at $98.30/cwt, down $1.39 from Thursday’s near five-month high of $99.69.

USDA reported the week-to-date U.S. hog kill at 2,450,000 head, down slightly from 2,459,000 in the same period a year ago.

Traders were monitoring a snowstorm expected in the U.S. Rockies and Plains over the weekend, bringing heavy snow and winds that could paralyze travel, including the transport of animals.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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