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U.S. livestock: CME live cattle close mixed, hogs lower

(Photo courtesy Canada Beef Inc.)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle settled mixed on Wednesday after investors bought the August contract and sold deferred months prompted by the morning’s wholesale beef price increase, traders said.

Spot-August futures closed 0.45 cent/lb. higher at 148.675 cents, and October was down 0.025 cent at 148.175 cents (all figures US$).

Wednesday morning’s wholesale choice beef price (cutout) rose $1.84/cwt from Tuesday, to $235.32. Select cuts were up 93 cents, to $229.10, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Typically, the turnaround following the summer seasonal slump in beef demand occurs around early August when supermarkets plan for Labour Day grilling promotions.

Futures’ recent rally, fewer cattle for sale and signs that cutout values have bottomed are supportive cash price factors for this week, traders and analysts said.

“Any cash bids over $149 should move the world,” a feedyard manager said.

Packers in the U.S. Plains bid $145 to $147/cwt for market-ready (cash) cattle against sellers asking mostly $151 to $153, feedlot sources said.

As much as $4 higher cash feeder cattle prices lifted the August CME feeder cattle contract, while profit-taking and firm corn prices pressured remaining trading months.

August finished up 0.175 cent/lb. at 214.125 cents, September slipped 0.125 cent, to 210.7 cents, and October closed 0.25 cent lower, at 208.525 cents.

Hogs drop with fundamentals

CME lean hogs bowed to soft cash hog and wholesale pork prices, traders said.

Spot-August futures, which will expire on Aug. 14, closed 1.175 cents/lb. lower at 80.225 cents, and most-active traded October 0.575 cent lower at 66.775 cents.

On Wednesday morning, the average cash hog price in Iowa/Minnesota sagged $1.41/cwt from Tuesday, to $74.48, USDA said.

Wednesday morning’s wholesale pork price was at $88.48/cwt, down nine cents from Tuesday, according to USDA.

Supplies are sufficient enough for this week’s production, even though a few packing plants plan to increase Saturday’s kill to make up for time off during Monday’s floater holiday, a trader said.

Packer margins greatly benefited from cheaper hogs and periodic pork cutout price spikes.

Pork processor margins for Wednesday were at a positive $20.80 per head, compared with a positive $18.45 on Tuesday and a positive $15.98 a week ago, as calculated by HedgersEdge.com.

Theopolis Waters reports on livestock markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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