U.S. livestock: Technical buying, solid beef demand boost CME cattle

Chicago lean hogs continue lower

CME November 2021 feeder cattle (candlesticks) with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages (pink, dark red and black lines). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — Technical buying and solid demand for U.S. beef lifted Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures on Wednesday, traders said.

The cattle markets continue to rebound from recent losses that were technically overdone, analysts said.

Front-month CME October live cattle futures reached its highest price since Sept. 16 at 124 cents/lb. and ended up one cent at 123.825 cents/lb. (all figures US$). The most-active December contract settled 0.375 cent higher at 128.225 cents.

Most-active November feeder cattle touched its highest price since Sept. 24 and ended 1.25 cents firmer at 158.125 cents/lb.

Recent gains in live and feeder cattle are giving traders some confidence that the markets may have set near-term bottoms in prices, analysts said. Prices had dropped too low at a time when domestic and export demand for U.S. beef is firm, they said.

U.S. beef exports in August topped $1 billion in value for the first time amid record sales to China, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Total exports rose about 21 per cent by volume from last year in August.

“Obviously breaking the $1 billion mark in a single month is a huge milestone for U.S. beef, and that’s not possible unless a wide range of markets are hitting on all cylinders,” said Dan Halstrom, chief executive for the trade group U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Total U.S. pork exports in August were up 3.6 per cent by volume from last year, USDA said.

CME hog futures, meanwhile, were weaker as the market continued to pull back from a two-month high reached last week, traders said.

October lean hogs settled 1.35 cents lower at 89.625 cents/lb. Most-active December lean hogs slipped 0.825 cent to close at 81.725 cents. Both contracts touched their lowest prices since Sept. 27.

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

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