U.S. livestock: Live cattle sag for sixth straight session

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange February live cattle futures fell Thursday for a sixth straight session, pressured by fund-driven long liquidation, falling cash cattle prices and softening wholesale beef demand, traders said.

“Fund liquidation continues be a factor in the meat complex, although lower product prices are adding justification for the selling at this point,” INTL FCStone chief commodities economist Arlan Suderman wrote in a note to clients.

Choice-grade wholesale beef prices fell $1.32, to $205.08/cwt (all figures US$). Beef demand typically tapers off at this time of year as consumers focus on shopping for Christmas gifts.

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Packers on Thursday paid $117/cwt for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle in the U.S. Plains, down from $120-$121 a week earlier, feedlot sources said.

Most-active CME February live cattle futures ended down 0.6 cent at 118.675 cents/lb.

January feeder cattle ended up 0.3 cent/lb. at 146.325 cents, bouncing after falling to a near three-month low of 144.9 cents.

Lean hog futures fell for a third straight day, pressured by lower cash prices as packing plants slowed their hog purchases ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

However, wholesale pork prices rose Thursday as grocers finalized ham purchases ahead of the holidays.

Benchmark CME February lean hog futures closed 0.475 cent lower at 68.475 cents/lb.

— Julie Ingwersen is a commodities correspondent for Reuters in Chicago.

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