Chicago | Reuters — Cattle and hog futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell on Thursday, tracking broader market pressure amid worries about global growth and despite rising prices for beef and pork, traders said.
Crude oil fell to its lowest levels since May and the U.S. dollar surged to a nine-month high, as rising COVID-19 cases worldwide and the prospect of a looming Federal Reserve taper dampened investor appetites for risk.
“It was pretty much a risk-off kind of day across the board. The path of least resistance was down,” said Matthew Wiegand, broker with FuturesOne.
“If we have a better outside environment tomorrow, I would expect we bounce back to the top end of the recent range,” he added.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported light cash cattle sales at southern Plains feedlot markets on Thursday at prices near prior-week levels above a week ago. Sales in the central Plains were firmer this week.
Meanwhile, wholesale boxed beef prices continued to firm, with the choice cutout up $1.55 on Thursday at $341.63/cwt and select cuts up $6.61, at $316.41/cwt, according to USDA data (all figures US$). Both were the highest in about 14 months.
Prices for most pork cuts were also up. The carcass cutout value gained 79 cents, to $121.40/cwt, on Thursday, USDA said.
Benchmark CME October lean hogs settled down 2.175 cents at 86.925 cents/lb.
CME October live cattle settled 0.9 cent lower at 128.15 cents/lb. and September feeder cattle futures ended down 0.45 cent at 162.9 cents/lb.
Cattle traders are looking ahead to Friday’s monthly cattle-on-feed report, which is expected to show Aug. 1 on-feed supplies down 1.8 per cent from a year ago and July placements down 6.9 per cent from a year ago.
— Karl Plume reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.