U.S. livestock: Live cattle up with wholesale beef prices

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures inched higher on Monday as rising wholesale beef prices buoyed the market in light-volume trade, analysts said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange December live cattle futures settled up 0.25 cent at 108.55 cents/lb. (all figures US$).

“That’s still the underlying factor — (cattle) weights are not as big as expected, (beef) demand is still strong and consumer buying is stronger than expected,” said Jason Roose, analyst with Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.

Boxed beef prices firmed on Monday for a third straight day, with choice cuts up 55 cents at $208.65/cwt. Select cuts were up $1.38 at $192.62, according to USDA data.

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The CME estimated Monday’s trading volume in live cattle futures at just under 40,000 contracts, the smallest since Oct. 5, if confirmed in final data.

CME feeder cattle futures closed narrowly mixed, with the most-active January contract edging lower in a pause after a five-session climb. January feeders ended down 0.075 cent at 134.05 cents/lb.

Lean hog futures ended mixed. The most-active December contact settled up 0.375 cent at 65.95 cents/lb. but back months finished modestly lower.

The U.S. pork cutout, an indication of wholesale pork prices, rose by 34 cents to $84.14/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prices fell sharply for pork bellies but rose for hams and ribs.

— Julie Ingwersen is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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