U.S. livestock: Live cattle, lean hogs firm on meat demand

Corn prices drag on feeder cattle

CME August 2021 live cattle (candlesticks) with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages (pink, brown, black lines). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog and live cattle futures climbed on Thursday on firming cash beef and pork prices and strong weekly export sales data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Feeder cattle futures were lower, however, pressured by soaring corn feed prices.

USDA data released early on Thursday showed the strongest U.S. beef export sales in nearly four months, with net sales of 27,923 tonnes in the week ended May 20. Net weekly pork export sales of 45,879 tonnes were the strongest in three weeks.

Domestic meat prices were also bullish to futures. The wholesale pork carcass cutout value jumped by $2.39, to $126.37/cwt, the highest since August 2014, USDA data showed (all figures US$). Select and choice boxed beef prices climbed to the highest in almost a year.

“The government data reaffirmed to the trade that not only is demand good domestically, but we also have strong export demand,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.

CME June hog futures climbed to a contract high of 115.8 cents/lb., which was also the highest for a front-month contract since August 2014, and settled 0.45 cent higher at 115.725 cents. Actively traded July hogs rose 0.3 cent, to 116.7 cents/lb.

August live cattle futures rose 0.1 cent, to 119.25 cents/lb., while August feeder cattle dropped 2.35 cents to 152.85 cents/lb.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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