LIVESTOCK-Higher cash prices lift U.S. live cattle futures

* Weak corn prices support CME feeder cattle
    * Short-covering props up CME hog futures

    By Meredith Davis
    CHICAGO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures ended firmer on Friday, helped by higher cash
prices, traders said.
    Packers in Texas and Kansas paid $132 per cwt on Friday for
cash or slaughter-ready cattle, $1 higher than last week,
feedlot sources said.
    Generally tight cattle supplies in the near term and recent
futures advances were supportive cash cattle factors, traders
and analysts said. 
    "The (live cattle) futures felt like it wanted to go down
but then the cash trade came out and propped it up," an a trader said. Processors were reluctant to overpay for supplies given their poor operating margins and lackluster wholesale beef demand. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Friday afternoon's choice beef wholesale price at $201.16 per cwt, down $1.40 from Thursday. That price was the lowest since $200.97 on Oct. 25. The National Beef packing plant in Liberal, Kansas, shut down operations on Thursday and Friday for mechanical repairs, but plans to reopen on Saturday, a company spokesman told Reuters on Friday. CME live cattle December finished up 0.425 cent per lb at 133.400 cents, and February closed at 134.800 cents, up 0.275 cent. Feeder cattle futures moved up with CME live cattle futures and as corn prices drifted lower. November feeders closed up 0.125 cent at 165.150 cents per lb, and January ended at 165.825 cents, 0.625 cent higher on the day. HOGS RISE DESPITE LOWER CASH PRICES Short-covering following three straight days of market losses pushed up CME hogs, traders and analysts said. Futures gained despite the pullback in cash hog and wholesale pork prices amid abundant supplies at record-high weights, traders said. Cooler fall temperatures and less-expensive newly harvested
corn is allowing hogs to put on weight quickly. "Until we see some signs of the weights coming down it will be hard to see a sustained futures rally. The packers don't need to chase hogs," said independent livestock futures trader Dan Norcini. Friday afternoon's cash hog prices in the closely watched Iowa/Minnesota market were at $79.58 per cwt, down 40 cents from Thursday, USDA said. The government's Friday afternoon wholesale pork price for pork dropped $2.00 per cwt from Thursday to $91.97 per cwt, following a $7.35 plunge in costs for pork bellies, which are made into bacon. December hogs ended up 0.300 cent at 85.900 cents per lb, while February closed up 0.475 cent at 90.275 cents. (Editing by G Crosse)

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