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U.S. livestock: CME hogs end higher after early losses pared

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hogs ended higher on Wednesday on short-covering and fund buying that trumped initial selling, traders said.

December closed up 0.225 cent per pound at 91.775 cents, and February 0.525 cent higher at 91.65 cents.

CME hogs rose despite lower cash hog and wholesale pork prices, partly due to ample supplies heading into the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.

The morning’s average hog price in Iowa/Minnesota dropped 42 cents per hundredweight (cwt) from Tuesday at $86.85, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Separate USDA data showed the morning’s wholesale pork price fell $1.38 per cwt from Tuesday to $92.78, led by the $7.26 decline in picnic shoulder values.

From Monday to Wednesday, packers processed 1.273 million hogs, up 34,000 from last year, USDA said.

Live cattle flat to firm

CME live cattle futures settled flat to higher on positioning before this week’s cash prices and ahead of USDA’s monthly Cattle-On-Feed report on Friday, traders said.

Most analysts expect Friday’s report to show October cattle placements decreased versus a year ago because of pricey calves that discouraged feedyards from buying them.

December closed unchanged at 170.825 cents/lb., February up 0.225 cent at 172.3 cents and April 0.2 cent higher at 170.2 cents.

Feedlots in the U.S. Plains priced market-ready or cash cattle at more than $173/cwt, with no word from packers, feedlot sources said. Last week, some cattle topped a record-high $172.

Some packers remain short on supplies after buying fewer animals in recent weeks which, along with the strong beef cutout, might underpin cash prices.

Processors may balk at spending more for cattle with plants scheduled to be closed at least one day during the Thanksgiving holiday.

CME November feeder cattle, which will expire on Thursday, closed nearly in line with CME’s feeder cattle index for Nov. 18 at 240.1 cents.

Other feeder cattle contracts slipped on sell stops and profit-taking.

November closed up 0.125 cent/lb. at 240.55 cents, January down 0.175 cent at 237.1 cents and March 0.275 cent lower at 235.325 cents.

— Theopolis Waters reports on livestock futures markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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