Chicago | Reuters — U.S. lean hog futures were widely mixed on Thursday, with nearby contracts gaining on the back of higher hog prices in cash markets while deferred futures contracts lost ground, traders and analysts said.
Cattle futures, both live and feeder, continued to decline as traders locked in profits following the six-month highs reached on Friday. Fresh news was relatively scant in the livestock markets.
Traders bought back short positions in Chicago Mercantile Exchange October lean hogs, with the contract rising to the highest since June to settle up 1.25 cents at 61.25 cents/lb. (all figures US$).
Most-active December hogs were up only 0.375 cents, to 58.275 cents, and February down 0.325, to 65.625.
Cash hogs in the top market of Iowa and southern Minnesota surged $1.85, to $59.21/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Some slaughter facilities in North Carolina, the No. 2 U.S. hog producing state after Iowa, were resuming operations after idling due to Hurricane Florence. The storm resulted in the death of over 5,000 hogs, according to local officials.
The U.S. hog slaughter of 437,000 head was up from 411,000 a week ago, when facilities started reducing operations, but below 458,000 hogs on the same day a year ago, USDA data showed.
In cattle, there were light cash trades of $112/cwt in Nebraska but traders said more widespread deals in the U.S. Plains may occur only after USDA releases its monthly Cattle on Feed report, due on Friday at 2 p.m. CT.
Analysts polled by Reuters expected the government to show about four per cent more cattle placed in feedlots for fattening during August.
CHS Hedging in a client note said mixed trade was likely in cattle going into Friday’s report. “The cattle market is viewed as being stagnant, despite overbought ideas,” CHS said.
October live cattle futures were down 0.65 cent to 112.45 cents/lb. and December off 0.075 cent to 117.9 cents. October feeder cattle futures were 0.6 cent lower at 157.275 cents.
— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.