U.S. livestock: Hogs, cattle drop as rains seen denting grilling demand

cme june live cattle
CME June 2019 live cattle with 20- and 50-day moving averages. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle and lean hog futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) closed mostly lower on Tuesday as both markets were pressured by worries that wet weather around large parts of the country would disrupt demand for pork and beef.

Above-normal rains are expected across much of the western and central U.S. farm belt over the next 10 days, a span that includes the Memorial Day weekend, a popular outdoor grilling holiday.

“Continued wet weather heading into the first big grilling-season holiday of the year is entrenching bearish attitudes that supplies are not going to move well because demand will be thwarted by the weather,” said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics.

CME June live cattle fell 0.5 cent to 110.85 cents/lb., while actively traded August was down 0.25 cent at 108.275 cents (all figures US$).

June lean hog futures closed 1.65 cents lower at 90.1 cents/lb. while actively traded July hogs ended down 1.625 cents at 91.375 cents.

Trade uncertainty heaped further pressure on hog futures after negotiations to end the bruising U.S.-China trade war soured dramatically since early May.

China, which had been expected to ramp up imports of U.S. pork this year, has not booked any substantial U.S. purchases since early April, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Feeder cattle futures followed other livestock markets lower, with additional pressure stemming from the rising cost of feed.

Benchmark Chicago Board of Trade corn futures rose to a one-year peak in a seventh straight session of gains on Tuesday.

CME August feeder cattle ended down 1.775 cents at 143 cents/lb. and September feeders fell 1.7, to 144.175 cents.

— Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago.

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