U.S. livestock: Cattle futures drop on plentiful supplies, demand concerns

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. cattle futures fell on Friday, pressured by ample supplies and rising concerns about demand amid weakness in global equities markets, traders said.

Flat cash markets also cast a bearish tone on the markets. Cash cattle have traded at $111/cwt for five weeks in a row (all figures US$).

Most-active CME December live cattle dropped 0.475 cent, to 116.3 cents/lb.

CME November feeder cattle were 2.25 cents lower, at 154.5 cents/lb.

In lean hog futures, contracts ended mostly higher, supported by bargain buying after recent losses.

Thinly traded October hogs edged up 0.075 cent, to 68.75 cents/lb. CME December hogs, the most active contract, rose 0.575 cent to settle at 55 cents/lb.

China’s agriculture ministry said on Friday an outbreak of African swine fever had been confirmed in Tianjin, the first to be reported in the municipality just southeast of Beijing. The fever was found on a farm that had 639 pigs, with 292 infected and 189 dying of the disease.

Thousands of hogs have been culled to prevent the spread of the highly contagious fever, for which there is no vaccine, through the world’s largest pig herd.

But the news had little impact on the market.

“A lot of that is already dialed in,” said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based broker U.S. Commodities.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday morning that weekly export sales of beef totaled 15,200 tonnes, down from 16,100 tonnes a week ago. Pork export sales fell to 16,700 tonnes from 15,000 tonnes.

Fed cattle in Texas and Kansas traded at $111/cwt in the cash market, which was about steady with the last two weeks, according to traders.

— Reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub in Chicago.

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