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U.S. livestock: CME live cattle jump on firmer cash trade

Supplies loom over lean hog futures

Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) live cattle futures settled higher on Friday and set a one-month top, buoyed by higher cash cattle trades in northern states including Nebraska and Iowa, traders said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that more than 22,000 head of cattle traded Wednesday in Nebraska, mostly from $113 to $113.50/cwt, up $2 from the previous week (all figures US$). Cattle traded in Iowa mostly at $112-$114, up $1 from last week.

“That seemed to be the driving force in the cattle market,” said Dennis Smith, a commodity broker with Archer Financial Services in Chicago.

Cattle traded on Wednesday in Texas and Kansas at $109/cwt, steady with last week, USDA said.

CME most-active August live cattle futures settled up 1.55 cents at 107 cents/lb. and October ended up 1.775 cents at 108.075 cents.

CME feeder cattle futures followed the firm trend in live cattle, with August feeders rising 2.25 cents at 138.825 cents/lb.

CME lean hog futures took the opposite tack, declining on follow-through selling after Wednesday’s weak close just ahead of the July 4 holiday.

Plentiful U.S. hog supplies continued to hang over the market, anchoring prices. USDA last week estimated the U.S. June 1 hog and pig herd at 75.5 million head, the highest June 1 inventory since estimates began in 1964.

“The fundamental news is not good. It sounds like the cash hog market is just not catching. You are still killing a bunch of hogs,” one Chicago trader said.

CME’s benchmark August lean hogs contract ended down 1.325 cents at 77.05 cents/lb. Front-month July fell 1.425 cents to settle at 72.125 cents.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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