CME live cattle futures reach new high with cash prices

Jan 16 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle
futures on Thursday climbed to a fresh high, with support from
buying left over following Wednesday's record-breaking cash and
wholesale beef prices, traders said.
    * The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly export data on
Thursday for the period ended Jan. 9 showed U.S. beef sales at
15,800 tonnes, mostly for South Korea.
    * Thursday's beef export data compares with 30,600 tonnes
for the previous week, which consisted of sales that were
carried over from late last year.
    LIVE CATTLE - At 8:45 a.m. CST (1445 GMT), February 
was at 140.475 cents per lb, up 1.050 cent after posting a new contract high of 140.775 cents. April was at 139.525 cents, 0.575 cent higher and posted a new contract high of 139.700 cents. * So far, cash cattle in the U.S. plains moved at $142 to $144 per cwt, topping last week's $140 record high, feedlot sources said. * Packers were short bought cattle at the time when retailers needed beef to feature after the Christmas and New Year's holidays, an analyst said. * The first sign of a breakdown in wholesale beef prices could trigger consolidation in the futures, he added. * Investors are eyeing the CME live cattle Relative Strength Index (RSI) reading of 84.35. An RSI above 70 suggests that the market is technically overbought and subject to a downward correction. * FEEDER CATTLE - January was at 169.714 cents per lb, up 0.325 cent and made a new contract high of 170.000 cents. March was at 168.700 cents per lb, 0.675 cent higher. * CME feeder cattle drew support from higher live cattle futures and fund buying in the April contract. LEAN HOGS - February was at 86.825 cents per lb, up 0.225 cent, while April was at 91.750 cents, 0.200 cent higher. * Expectations that consumers would switch to pork as beef
costs escalate propped up CME hog futures, traders said. * They said anticipation of packers working through supplies that were delayed by last week's harsh weather provided more support to hog futures. * Hogs in the Midwest on Thursday morning traded steady to 50 cents per cwt higher as packers purchase hogs for next week's production, dealers said. * Fund buying surfaced after April pierced the 40-day moving average of 91.83 cents in electronic trading. * The government's weekly export data showed U.S. pork net sales at 9,900 tonnes, mostly to Mexico, compared with 21,100 tonnes. The prior week's exports included sales carried over from December 2013. (Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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