U.S. livestock: Profit-taking hits live cattle futures

CME April hogs also down off Friday's high

CME April 2021 live cattle with Bollinger (20,2) bands. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures weakened on Monday on profit-taking and as the market pulled back from a one-year high reached last week, traders said.

Strong demand for beef has supported cattle futures recently, and beef prices continue to rise.

Choice cuts advanced $1.82, to $235.77/cwt, and select cuts climbed $2.98, to $225.69, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (all figures US$).

“Demand for beef is just unbelievable,” said Dennis Smith, commodity broker for Archer Financial Services in Chicago. “There’s a big export push going on.”

Chicago Mercantile Exchange April live cattle settled down 0.15 cent at 121.7 cents/lb. On Friday, the contract reached 123.9 cents, its highest price since January 2020. For the month of January 2021, the contract rose 2.6 cents, or 2.2 per cent, inviting profit-taking by speculators.

Traders said they expected cash cattle prices to rise this week. Last week, market-ready cattle traded in the cash market as high as $113/cwt, traders said, up $3 from the bulk of the previous week.

Feeder cattle futures closed higher after falling to their lowest price since Jan. 21. CME March feeder cattle finished up 0.2 cent at 137.925 cents/lb.

In the pork market, CME April lean hog futures settled down 1.15 cents at 75.5 cents/lb., after setting a life-of-contract high of 77.6 cents last Tuesday.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed an executive order mandating price ceilings for pork and chicken in the capital region, as costlier meat has propelled food inflation to a double-digit level.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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