U.S. livestock: Live cattle futures up despite slower slaughter

December lean hog futures drop

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures gained slightly on Friday after a week of range trading, traders said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange December live cattle futures settled 0.3 cent higher at 108.65 cents/lb. (all figures US$).

CME feeder cattle futures gained 0.525 cents to end at 135.925 cents/lb.

For the week, live cattle futures gained 0.3 per cent, while feeder cattle futures added 1.44 per cent.

“The market’s in a trading range, both cash and futures,” said Larry Hicks, broker at CattleHedging.com. “It’s getting ready to break out, one way or another. My bias is that it’s going to break to the downside in November before it recovers.”

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Boxed beef prices, which had been strengthening all week, were mixed, with choice cuts up $1.77 at $214.32/cwt on Friday afternoon, but select cuts trimmed back 48 cents to $198.49, according to USDA data.

Meanwhile, cattle slaughter slipped to 109,000 head, down 4.4 per cent compared to a week earlier and 7.6 per cent lower than a year ago.

“I still think we need to get some cattle through. I don’t think we’ve finished backing up,” said Hicks.

Lean hog futures dipped, with the most-active December contract losing 2.525 cents to close at 64.9 cents/lb., the biggest drop since October 22.

For the week, December hog futures lost 0.675 cents, the third consecutive week of losses in the market.

— Christopher Walljasper reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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