U.S. livestock: Lean hogs end mostly higher

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. lean hog futures closed mostly higher on Monday as hopes for rising demand for U.S. pork exports, particularly from China, more than offset near-term pressure from plentiful hog supplies.

Investor caution kept hog futures in a narrow trading range following a roller-coaster session on Friday in which the market surged on strong pork export data before turning lower as traders later questioned the timeliness of the data.

The market also continued to monitor trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. U.S. hog and pork markets would be major beneficiaries of a trade deal with China, the world’s largest pork consuming country, which is currently charging steep tariffs on U.S. shipments.

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On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump spoke optimistically about reaching a trade deal with Beijing and repeated an assertion that China is buying U.S. agricultural products.

“The hogs are stuck in this recent pattern until the trade situation is clarified more,” said Matthew Wiegand, a broker with FuturesOne.

“There’s more optimism in the back months in the sense that trade will get done and you’ll see more consistent exports. Short term, it doesn’t seem to be anything that wants to spike the market, especially with ample hog numbers still coming for the packers,” he said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) December lean hog futures , the most active contract, settled down 0.125 cent at 67.825 cents/lb. while February hogs were up 0.7 at 78.175 cents (all figures US$). Deferred contracts were up 0.15-0.975 cent.

CME live cattle futures rebounded on Monday from a prior-session drop as pressure from weak cash cattle prices was more than offset by good beef demand prospects amid a resilient U.S. economy and strong consumer confidence.

Also supportive was news that Cargill resumed receiving cattle at a Kansas beef plant on Monday after an explosion disrupted operations there last week.

Beef prices firmed on Monday. Wholesale choice boxed beef cuts were quoted at $220.13/cwt on Monday, up $2.09 from late Friday and $2.91 from a week ago. Select cuts were $1.40 higher at $194.44/cwt, a $5.11 gain from a week ago.

CME December live cattle futures settled up 0.25 cent at 113.875 cents/lb. November feeder cattle futures were unchanged at 142.85 cents/lb., while actively traded January was down 0.35 at 139.1 cents.

— Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume in Chicago.

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