U.S. livestock: CME live cattle stumble on weaker cash, beef quotes

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures finished lower on Thursday in response to the day’s fallen cash and wholesale beef prices, traders said.

October live cattle ended 1.025 cents/lb. lower at 101.4 cents, and December 1.6 cents lower at 102.6 cents (all figures US$).

Thursday afternoon’s choice beef price slumped $1.51/cwt from Wednesday to $189.14. Select cuts fell $1.03, to $182.63, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

So far this week market-ready, or cash, cattle in the U.S. Plains brought mostly $105/cwt, down from $110-$111 last week, said feedlot sources.

“Nothing has changed yet fundamentally. We still have a lot of protein, cattle weights are up and there are more cattle around,” a trader said.

Thursday was the first of five days for some funds trading in CME’s livestock markets to shift or “roll” October positions mainly into December. The process is tied to the Standard + Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (S+PGSCI).

CME feeder cattle felt pressure from lower live cattle futures and firmer corn prices. September ended 1.55 cents/lb. lower at 131.6 cents.

Modest hog market gains

CME lean hogs were supported by Thursday’s cash price bounce and much-improved wholesale pork prices, said traders.

October closed up 0.125 cent/lb., to 61 cents, and December ended up 0.1 cent, to 55.475 cents.

The government reported Thursday afternoon’s average cash hog price in Iowa/Minnesota rose 29 cents/cwt from Wednesday to $59.30.

USDA data showed the afternoon wholesale pork price climbed $1.87/cwt from Wednesday, to $81.67.

Some grocers may be purchasing product to feature for National Pork Month in October, said analysts and traders.

Packers are actively buying hogs due to their extremely profitable margins and in preparation for a possible 350,000-head Saturday slaughter, said Midwest hog merchants.

Smithfield Foods said its Monmouth, Ill. hog processing plant, closed since Monday due to a fire, resumed limited operations on Thursday and would run fully on Friday and Saturday.

Theopolis Waters reports on livestock markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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