CME live cattle futures mostly firm; hogs weaker

May 13 (Reuters) – Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures traded mostly firm on Tuesday as funds rolled some of their June positions into contracts further back, traders said.

* Tuesday is the last day in which funds that follow the Standard & Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index will sell, or roll, their June long CME live cattle and hog positions into deferred months.

* Some investors adjusted positions ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monthly Cattle-On-Feed report on Friday.

* Initial analysts’ average forecasts suggest cattle placements last month declined from April 2013 due to fewer animals to draw from after several years of drought in parts of the United States reduced the herd to a 63-year low.

* At 8:19 a.m. CDT (1319 GMT), June was down 0.150 cent per lb at 137.500 cents, and August was up 0.125 cent to 138.200 cents.

* Traders await this week’s sale of cash or market-ready cattle that could feel pressure from a seasonal increase in supplies, an analyst said.

* Unprofitable packer margins may weigh down cash prices, he said.

* Investors are keeping a close watch on wholesale beef values for signs retailers are gearing up to feature product for Memorial Day grilling.

* FEEDER CATTLE – May was at 184.850 cents, up 0.250 cent per lb. August was 0.375 cent higher at 192.250.

* CME feeder cattle drew support from firm back-month live cattle futures and steady-to-higher prices for feeder cattle in local markets.

* LEAN HOGS – May lean hogs were at 112.900 cents per lb, down 0.525 cent. Most actively traded June was 0.200 cent lower at 118.800 cents.

* Monday’s cash price slump pulled down CME hogs, traders said.

* Packer cutbacks allowed them to consistently slash bids for slaughter-ready hogs, they said.

* Investors remain wary of futures’ premium to CME’s hog index, at 114.30 cents, as the May contract prepares to expire on May 14.

* “People are waiting for May to go off the board before figuring out what to do with June that looks way overpriced to the index,” a trader said.

* Late Monday’s wholesale pork price bounce might limit market losses, analysts and traders said.

* Anticipation of fewer hogs pegged to the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus on U.S. hog farms may support deep-deferred contracts, an analyst said. (Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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