U.S. livestock: Slumping cash prices sink CME hogs to four-month low

Chicago / Reuters – Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hogs on Thursday settled near their lowest since late-March 2013, dragged down by weaker cash prices before some plants shut down on Monday for an annual industry floater holiday, traders said.

One packer was closed on Thursday, and possibly on Friday, for repairs, which limited its need for supplies, a Midwest hog merchant said.

Cash hog prices in the Midwest on Wednesday morning were mostly steady to 50 cents per lb lower, said Midwest hog merchants.

They look for packers to process close to 85,000 hogs this Saturday, including plants making up for this week’s maintenance disruptions and Monday’s floater holiday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated last Saturday’s slaughter at 40,000 head.

“I don’t see us bottoming out cash-wise until we can get consistent improvement in pork demand. But there’s plenty of hogs around right now,” an Iowa hog merchant said.

Meat demand typically subsides during sultry summer weather as consumers eat lighter meals.

Thursday morning’s wholesale pork price rose 55 cents per cwt from Wednesday to $83.04, helped by more than $5 higher pork belly prices, the USDA said.

August hogs finished 2.825 cents per lb lower at 68.850 cents, and posted a low for the contract of 68.775 cents.

October ended 1.850 cents per lb lower at 59.200 cents, and marked a fresh low of 59.125 cents.

Live cattle win streak ends

CME live cattle closed lower for the first time in five days on profit-taking and technical selling, traders said.

August live cattle ended 0.625 cent per lb lower at 113.325 cents. October settled 0.950 cents lower at 112.100 cents and below the 40-day moving average of 113.54 cents.

Investors await possible steady-to-higher prices for market-ready, or cash, cattle prices by week’s end based on fewer animals for sale than last week.

Market participants also look for cash prices and wholesale beef demand to pick up seasonally heading into August.

Packers in the southern U.S. Plains bid $113 to $114 per cwt for cash cattle priced at $118 to $120, said feedlot sources. A week ago packers paid $115 for supplies.

The morning’s choice beef price slipped eight cents per cwt from Wednesday to $199.00. Select cuts were down 30 cents to $189.75, the USDA said.

Fund liquidation and live cattle market selling sank CME feeder futures. August feeders closed down 1.800 cents per lb to 140.475 cents.

Editing by James Dalgleish

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