U.S. livestock: Strong cash trade lifts CME live cattle

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures rose on Monday, riding a tailwind from Friday’s higher-than-expected prices for market-ready, or cash, cattle, traders said.

February live cattle finished 1.1 cents/lb. higher at 125.7 cents and most-active April settled up 0.375 cents at 125 cents (all figures US$).

After futures closed on Friday, cash cattle traded at $126/cwt in Kansas, up $3 from a week earlier.

“Guys are still very happy with the cash finding good support,” said Jason Roose of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.

The strong cash prices overshadowed bearish data in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly Cattle on Feed report, released after Friday’s close.

The government said U.S. ranchers sent nearly one per cent more cattle to U.S. feedlots in December than the same time a year earlier, topping most analysts’ expectations.

“Overall, we’ve shown good demand with a bigger supply (of cattle). Slaughter numbers continue to be aggressive,” Roose said.

CME feeder cattle also ended higher, led by strength in live cattle futures. March feeders ended 0.275 cents higher at 147 cents, paring gains after the contract reached 149.475 cents, a near two-month top.

CME lean hogs settled mixed. February lean hog futures rose 0.125 cent at 72.4 cents/lb. while most-active April hogs declined 0.375 cent to settle at 73.425.

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

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