U.S. livestock: CME live cattle end two per cent higher

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle ended sharply higher on Monday, rising two per cent, supported by tight cattle supplies, higher wholesale beef prices and higher cash market prices, traders said.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed cattle in the cash market traded at $144 per hundredweight (cwt) in Texas last week, $1 higher than a week ago (all figures US$). Feedlot sources said Kansas traded at $145 to $146/cwt, which was about $2 higher than the previous week.

Light slaughter volume continues to be a supportive factor to live cattle futures. USDA estimated cattle slaughter at 113,000 on Monday, which is 9,000 head less than a year ago.

“Supply of cattle in the cash market is tight. There are some beef plants looking for supply for tomorrow,” said Domenic Varricchio, a commodities broker at Schwieterman Inc.

Higher wholesale prices, indicative of strong beef demand, also lent support to CME live cattle futures values.

Monday morning’s wholesale choice beef price rose $1.25/cwt from Friday to $232.11. Select cuts rose 25 cents to $221.06, according to USDA data.

June, which expires at the end of the month, ended at 142.825 cents per pound, up 2.7 cents. August closed at 143.275 cents, up 1.975 cents.

CME feeder cattle traded up its three-cent limit, supported by tight supplies, cheaper feed prices and scattered rains across the U.S. Plains which improved pasture conditions, traders said.

August feeder cattle ended at 203.535 cents/lb., up three cents, and the September contract closed at 203.875 cents/lb., also up three cents.

Hogs end narrowly mixed

CME lean hogs ended narrowly mixed on Monday. Front-month June, which expires next week, traded at a premium to the CME lean hog index of 110.98, which dragged on the contract.

July lean hogs closed at its highest level in more than a week, boosted by expectations of higher hog prices in the cash market as supplies tighten and increasing consumer demand for meat during the grilling season.

USDA data on Monday showed pork wholesale prices, or the cutout, at $120.01/cwt, up $1.41 from Friday.

June hogs ended down 0.275 cents/lb. at 114.3 cents. July closed up 0.975 cents/lb. at 125.95.

— Meredith Davis reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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