U.S. livestock: Lean hogs drop on trade worry after Huawei arrest

Live cattle down on profit-taking after two days' gains

february live cattle
CME February 2019 live cattle with 50-day moving average. (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. lean hog futures fell for the third time in four sessions on Thursday on worries about rising U.S.-China trade tensions following the arrest of a Chinese executive in Canada, but the market clawed back most of the losses by the close.

After optimism that trade talks last weekend between Washington and Beijing could lead to a trade deal, the arrest of a senior executive from China’s Huawei Technologies Co. again stoked concerns that progress in trade talks could be derailed.

The White House has said the trade detente included an agreement by China to immediately buy U.S. agricultural products, among which would likely be pork.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange February lean hogs settled down 0.85 cent at 66.9 cents/lb. after earlier sinking as low as 65.25 cents (all figures US$). April hogs shed 0.85 cent to 71.275 cents.

“The market bent on the concerns that there was a new issue that popped up, but it didn’t break,” said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities. “The market came back from the lows so there is still that optimism that an agreement is in the works.”

Traders will be monitoring U.S. Department of Agriculture weekly export sales data on Friday morning for signs of continued pork purchases by China after the world’s top hog and pork market made unexpected purchases a week earlier.

Live cattle futures slid lower in a profit-taking setback after two days of gains fueled by a firm tone to the cash market and worries about harsh weather in the Plains feedlot areas.

Active cash market trading has yet to develop this week, although prices are expected to be at least steady with last week’s sales at $117-$118/cwt.

CME February live cattle futures settled down 0.575 cent at 121.8 cents/lb., holding chart support at its 50-day moving average.

Feeder cattle futures followed live cattle lower. January futures settled down 1.275 cents at 144.2 cents.

— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters in Chicago.

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