U.S. livestock: Live cattle down on bearish placements data

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures fell on Monday, with the benchmark April contract touching a two-week low following Friday’s bearish Cattle on Feed report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, traders said.

The government on Friday reported that 2.068 million head of cattle were placed on feed last month, up 4.4 per cent from a year earlier and the highest January placements figure since 2006.

Follow-through selling after Friday’s disappointing weekly USDA beef export sales data added to bearish sentiment in live cattle futures.

“That’s two weeks in a row of weak beef export sales,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.

Most-active CME April live cattle settled down 0.85 cent at 124 cents/lb. (all figures US$).

Feeder cattle and lean hog futures also ended lower. CME April feeder cattle settled down 0.55 cent at 147.95 cents/lb. Front-month March feeders finished down 0.45 cent at 145.55.

Hog futures fell, snapping a four-session rally in the April contract. CME April lean hogs ended down 1.425 cents to 69.95 cents/lb.

However, cash hogs in Iowa and Minnesota traded 17 cents higher on Monday from the previous day, USDA said, a potentially supportive signal for futures.

“Today there was disappointment (among futures traders) that we had not yet seen strength in cash hogs, but now that may change,” Nelson said.

— Julie Ingwersen is a commodities correspondent for Reuters in Chicago.

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