U.S. livestock: CME live cattle down sixth straight day

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures lost ground for a sixth straight session on Thursday, pressured by cash price caution for this week, traders said.

June closed down 1.525 cents per pound to 150.425 cents, and August 1.3 cents lower at 149.35 cents (all figures US$).

Market-ready (cash) cattle bids in the U.S. Plains held at $150/cwt against $155 to $157 asking prices, feedlot sources said. Last week, cash cattle fetched $152 to $155.

“I think cash will be steady at best, and most people think it’s going to be $2 to $3/cwt lower,” A+A Trading broker Jim Clarkson said.

Futures’ retreat, more cattle for sale and packing plant cutbacks to widen their margins might weigh on cash prices, traders and analysts said.

Profitable packer margins, strong wholesale beef values and some processors needing supplies might underpin cash prices in parts of the Plains, they said.

Beef packer margins for Thursday were at a positive $19.70 per head, compared with a positive $24.05 on Wednesday, as calculated by HedgersEdge.com.

Thursday morning’s wholesale choice beef price was up 48 cents/cwt from Wednesday to $250.88. Select cuts gained 43 cents, to $244.81, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

June and August losses mounted after they drifted below their respective 40-day moving averages of 151.94 cents and 150.42 cents.

Cattle futures traders await USDA’s monthly Cattle on Feed report on Friday.

Fund liquidation and CME live cattle futures selling dragged down the exchange’s feeder cattle contracts.

August ended 2.8 cents/lb. lower at 221.925 cents.

Hogs settle steady-weak

CME lean hogs were mostly pressured by bearish fundamentals, but July drew support from its discount to the exchange’s hog index for June 16 at 80.57, traders said.

July closed up 0.025 cent/lb. to 78.025 cents, August down 0.375 cent to 76 cents and October 0.55 cent lower at 66.225 cents.

USDA reported Thursday morning’s average cash hog price in Iowa/Minnesota fell 61 cents/cwt from Wednesday to $76.34.

Government data showed the morning’s wholesale pork price at $85.20/cwt, down 31 cents from Wednesday.

Plentiful hogs depressed cash prices, a trader said.

Retailers are buying small amounts of pork for the U.S. July 4 holiday after wrapping up business for Father’s Day demand, he said.

Deferred hog contracts reflected investor jitters ahead of USDA’s quarterly hog report on June 26 that might show larger-than-expected supplies ahead.

Theopolis Waters reports on livestock markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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