U.S. livestock: Live cattle extend slide on long liquidation

Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Mercantile Exchange February live cattle futures fell on Friday for a seventh straight session on technical selling including fund long liquidation and uncertainty about near-term beef demand, traders said.

“We have a lot of protein around right now. We have a few holidays later this month to move some of it, but in the short term we do have perhaps an oversupply,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with consultancy Allendale Inc.

Funds have been liquidating long positions in cattle futures for much of this week, traders said. After the close, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said managed funds trimmed their net long positions in live cattle and feeder cattle in the week to Dec. 5.

Managed funds expanded their net long in lean hog futures.

Live cattle futures fell despite an uptick in choice-grade wholesale beef prices, which rose 51 cents, to $205.59/cwt (all figures US$).

Most-active CME February live cattle futures settled down 0.375 cent at 118.3 cents/lb.

January feeder cattle ended down 1.1 cent/lb. at 145.225 cents but held above Thursday’s three-month low of 144.9 cents.

Lean hog futures firmed on technical buying after a three-session slide, although cash hog prices continued to slide as packing plants slowed hog purchases ahead of the end-year holidays.

Benchmark CME February lean hog futures closed up 0.375 cent at 68.85 cents/lb. after dipping to 67.85 cents, the contract’s lowest since Nov. 22.

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

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