U.S. livestock: Cattle, hogs rise on investment fund buying

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Chicago | Reuters –– U.S. livestock futures rose on Wednesday, with lean hogs bouncing from Tuesday’s roughly three-week low on technical and investment fund buying, traders and analysts said.

Live cattle futures climbed to a 1-1/2 week high at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, further buoyed by positioning ahead of a monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture Cattle on Feed report due on Friday.

The Thomson Reuters/CoreCommodity CRB Index of 19 commodities including livestock futures finished at the highest levels in nearly three years on Wednesday.

“We had an agricultural buying spree by the funds,” said Global Commodities Analytics analyst Mike Zuzolo.

CME June lean hog futures finished 1.475 cents higher at 74.6 cents/lb. and July hogs were up 1.1 cents to 76.225 cents (all figures US$).

Hogs had declined for three straight sessions, sagging under pressure of weaker cash prices and chart-based selling, before notching their largest percentage gains in two weeks.

“Regarding hogs, it’s a little bit of a market correction,” said Calvin Hui, a trader with Gator Trading Partners. “The (wholesale pork) cutout is weak, we have a lot of supply available in pork and hogs, and it’s causing a slower spring in how prices are moving.”

CME June live cattle were up 0.55 cent to 105.45 cents/lb. and most-active August cattle gained 2.15 cents to 102.8 cents/lb., with investors continuing to exit positions in June and roll into August.

CME August feeder cattle were up 2.625 cents to 143.35 cents/lb., the highest since May 11.

However, Zuzolo cautioned that the month-long rally in the dollar against other global currencies could create headwinds for U.S. beef and pork in export markets, where a strong dollar can make imports more expensive. Traders will be watching weekly U.S. export sales data due on Thursday for clues on demand.

“The question will be, What kind of legs does this (rally) have given the strong dollar? We’ll probably need some good demand news to keep this going,” Zuzolo said.

Zero cattle were sold at the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange online auction, according to the auction website.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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