U.S. livestock: Higher beef price boosts CME live cattle futures

Chicago / Reuters – Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures on Tuesday recovered some of their recent losses, helped by the morning’s wholesale beef price turnaround, traders said.

Buy stops and futures’ discounts to this week’s expected cash prices provided additional market support, they said.

August ended 0.800 cent per pound higher at 112.800 cents per pound, and October ended 0.925 cent higher at 112.875 cents.

Last week, market-ready – or cash – cattle fetched $117 to $118 per cwt. Investors expect Wednesday morning’s Fed Cattle Exchange sale to set the tone for this week’s cash prices.

A week ago, animals there moved from $117.50 to $118.25 per cwt.

Live cattle futures’ discount to cash prices is ample enough given profitable packer margins, said Global Commodity Analytics President Mike Zuzolo.

He added that wholesale beef prices seem to be forging a seasonal bottom as retailers feature more product in competition with pork.

“Beef has made an extremely strong and successful effort to take away market share from pork at this stage,” Zuzolo said.

Technical buying, lower prices for corn and live cattle futures’ advances sent CME feeder cattle sharply higher.

August feeders ended up 3.000 cents per pound at 149.175 cents.

More hog market losses

Uneasiness about cash and wholesale pork prices, plentiful ample supplies, sank CME lean hogs for a third straight session to a two-month low, said traders.

August , which expires on Aug. 14, closed 0.500 cents per pound lower at 79.800 cents.

Most actively-traded October ended 1.625 cents lower at 64.400 cents.

Packers paid less for hogs as farmers rush animals to market, swayed by downward-trending cash prices, traders said.

Hog slaughters typically fluctuate during August with some plants closing for a floater holiday – consisting of packers swapping some winter holidays by giving employees time off during the summer, traders added.

Pork belly price at wholesale have gradually come down from their record high of $227.54 on July 26, possibly signaling a seasonal top in the market, according to traders and analysts.

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