U.S. livestock: Live cattle hit lowest price since June under supply pressure

December lean hogs close up off recent low

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures fell on Monday, with the most-active contract touching its lowest price since June under pressure from a larger-than-expected number of cattle on feed in the United States, traders said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a monthly report issued after the markets closed on Friday, said 11.7 million cattle were in feedlots at the start of the month, up 3.8 per cent from a year earlier and the highest Oct. 1 inventory since records began in 1996.

Analysts had expected an increase of about 3.2 per cent.

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USDA on Friday also said the number of cattle placed into feedlots in September was up 105.9 per cent from a year earlier, exceeding analysts’ estimates for a 102.5 per cent increase.

“They’re putting a lot of cattle into feedlots at this time because there are some profit opportunities out there,” said Brian Hoops, president of U.S. broker Midwest Market Solutions.

CME December live cattle futures fell 0.175 cent, to 103.4 cents/lb., and touched their lowest price since June 29 (all figures US$). Deferred contracts finished higher.

January feeder cattle jumped 1.225 cents, to 126.775 cents/lb. The contract bounced after falling last week to its lowest price since April, a broker said.

In the pork market, December lean hogs rose 0.725 cent, to 67.75 cents/lb. The market recovered after touching its lowest price since Oct. 13.

— Tom Polansek reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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