U.S. livestock: CME live cattle futures end down, hogs up


Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle closed lower on Monday pressured by concerns about consumer demand and a seasonal uptick in supply, while last week’s higher cash trade limited losses, analysts and traders said.

April closed 0.575 cent per pound lower at 162.45 cents and June closed 1.625 cents/lb. lower at 151.75 cents (all figures US$).

Cash cattle in Texas and Kansas sold $2 higher at $167 per hundredweight (cwt) on Friday, which boosted live cattle futures trade early on Monday.

But weaker-than-expected March employment data released on Friday from the U.S. Labor Department raised fears about domestic beef consumption and pressured futures later in the trading session, traders said.

“Friday’s employment report was a bit concerning. It was the smallest monthly gain in jobs since December 2013, so there maybe a little concern regarding consumer (beef) demand,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist at Allendale.

Supplies are expected to seasonally build by the end of the month which also pressured futures, Nelson said.

Monday morning’s choice wholesale beef price rose 55 cents/cwt from Friday to $256.12. Select cuts rose 87 cents/cwt to $250.16, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

CME feeder cattle followed live cattle futures lower.

April closed 0.575 cents/lb. lower at 219.8 cents. May closed 0.575 cent/lb. lower at 216.875.

Hogs edge up

April CME lean hogs ended higher on short-covering, while expectations of shrinking hog supplies lent some support, traders and analysts said.

“After Easter we typically do see hog supplies dry up as we make the move down into summer supplies,” Nelson said.

April closed 0.075 cent/lb. higher at 63.25 cents. May ended 0.85 cent/lb. higher at 69.2 cents.

Separate government data showed Monday morning’s wholesale pork price fell 58 cents/cwt from Friday to $65.17, USDA said.

Meredith Davis reports on livestock markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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