CME live cattle futures climb; hogs mostly firm

May 1 (Reuters) – Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures rose on Thursday, supported by their discounts to last week’s cash prices, traders said.

* U.S. Department of Agriculture export data on Thursday for the week ended April 24 showed U.S. beef sales at 11,400 tonnes, mostly to Japan, compared with 18,000 tonnes the week before.

* At 8:42 a.m. CDT (1342 GMT), June was up 0.650 cent per lb to 137.850 cents, and August gained 0.475 cent to 136.550 cents.

* CME live cattle investors expect a steady cash cattle trade this week.

* Sufficient supplies and lukewarm beef demand could weigh on cash prices, while positive packer margins may lend cash support, traders said.

* Last week, cash cattle in Texas and Kansas traded at $145 to $146 per hundredweight (cwt), with $146 to $148 sales in Nebraska, feedlot sources said.

* FEEDER CATTLE – May was at 182.175 cents, up 0.975 cent per lb, its new contract high. August was 1.775 cents higher at 189.250, and hit a fresh contract high of 189.325 cents.

* CME feeder cattle climbed to a record high, driven by strong live cattle futures and weak corn prices.

* LEAN HOGS – May lean hogs were at 117.475 cents per lb, down 0.175 cent. Most actively traded June was up 0.050 cent at 123.175 cents, and July rose 0.150 cent to 122.550 cents.

* Residual selling from Wednesday’s losses pressured the CME May hog contract on Thursday, traders and analysts said.

* They said short-covering and bargain-hunting following Wednesday’s selloff supported remaining trading months.

* Traders are closely watching market fundamentals after cash hogs on Wednesday traded mixed, rather than lower, and pork prices ticked higher.

* Hogs in the Midwest on Thursday traded steady to $1 per cwt lower, according to hog dealers.

* Retailers are likely preparing to book pork to feature during the U.S. Memorial Day holiday weekend, an analyst said.

* While some packers have all the hogs they need for this week’s production, others are buying hogs for next week, he said.

* USDA’s export data showed U.S. pork sales at 9,800 tonnes, mostly to Mexico, compared with 15,100 tonnes the week before. (Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Additional reporting by Meredith Davis; editing by Peter Galloway)

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