U.S. livestock: Live cattle futures sag on cash prices, Japan news

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Chicago / Reuters – Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle settled lower on Friday, weighed by weaker cash prices and word that Japan plans to hike tariffs on U.S. frozen beef, said traders.

Japan will raise tariffs from August on imports of frozen beef from the United States to protect domestic producers, Japan’s Ministry of Finance said on Friday.

August ended 1.400 cents per pound lower at 112.900 cents per pound, and October 1.150 cents lower at 112.425 cents.

Some blamed futures’ retreat on the Japan news while others are still pointing to last Friday’s USDA reports, said Cassandra Fish, author of industry blog The Beef.

“Neither is new news, but someone always looks for a ‘reason’ to explain market action,” she said.

Market participants also mulled lower market-ready, or cash, cattle returns this week partly due to seasonally slumping wholesale beef values.

Packers this week paid $117 to $118 per cwt for cash cattle, down as much as $3 from a week earlier.

Futures market activity may prove volatile on Monday, as investors adjust positions on the final day of trading for July, a trader said.

Profit-taking and live cattle futures selling undercut CME feeder cattle contracts.

August feeders ended 1.775 cents per pound lower at 146.050 cents.

Lower hog market close

Softer cash and wholesale pork prices amid seasonally building supplies pressured CME lean hogs.

August closed 0.850 cent per pound lower at 81.400 cents, and October 1.175 cents to 66.500 cents.

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