Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

U.S. livestock: Hogs turn up on cash, wholesale pork prices

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Chicago | Reuters – Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hogs finished higher on Wednesday after stronger cash and wholesale pork prices pared some of Tuesday’s losses, said traders.

Funds periodically sold, or “rolled,” lead-month positions into deferred months ahead of similar moves early next week.

Monday will be the first of five days that funds in CME’s livestock markets, which track the Standard & Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index , roll February long positions primarily into the April and June contracts.

February hogs settled up 0.325 cent per pound at 71.050 cents. April ended 0.575 cent higher at 75.425 cents.

Packers competed for hogs in preparation for big post-New Year’s holiday Saturday slaughter, said analysts and traders.

Farmers are reluctant to open doors to swine buildings to retain heat as Arctic air settles across most of the Midwest, they said.

Some grocers are restocking meat cases after determining how much product moved over the holiday, they added.

Mostly higher live cattle futures

The preliminary “roll” by funds weighed on CME February live cattle futures, but lifted remaining trading months that also drew support from buy stops, said traders.

The prospect that packers will pay more for cattle than last week minimized February’s decline.

February live cattle finished down 0.400 cent per pound at 122.950 cents. April ended up 0.275 cent at 124.375 cents, and June closed up 0.175 cent at 115.350 cents.

Feedlots in Texas and Kansas priced slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle at $126 to $127 per cwt with no word from packers bid-wise.

Last week cash cattle in the U.S. Plains brought mostly $123. The nearly 400 animals for sale at Wednesday’s Fed Cattle Exchange were not purchased.

Tight cattle supplies in parts of the Plains and the run up in wholesale beef prices, partly due to plunging temperatures, bode well for cash prices this week, said analysts and traders.

Cold weather typically slows down weight gains in cattle and makes it difficult to transport animals and meat in some areas, especially in the eastern part of the United States, said Livestock Marketing Information Center director Jim Robb.

“Some of the rally in the wholesale beef markets is a bit tied to the disruption caused by weather in that segment too,” he said. Technical pressure and profit-taking undercut CME feeder cattle contracts.

January feeder cattle closed down 0.150 cent per pound to 149.375 cents.

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