Live cattle, lean hogs firm - CME

Futures supported by strong cash markets, steady processing pace
calendar icon 1 December 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) firmed on Wednesday, supported by strong cash markets and a steady pace of processing, reported Reuters

"Even though there's a seasonal pullback for the next couple of weeks, it doesn't look like cash wants to break," said Scott Varilek, broker at Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading Inc. "I think there's a little leverage in the producer's side."

CME benchmark February live cattle gained 0.87 cent to 155.675 cents per pound. The spot December contract added 0.400 cent to 153.075 cents per pound.

CME January feeder cattle finished up 2.475 cents at 180.475 cents per pound.

Cash cattle traded as high as $158 per cwt. in the northern US plains and $154 to $155 across the southern plains, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said.

Meatpackers slaughtered 128,000 head of cattle on Wednesday, up 4,000 from the same period a year earlier.

"They are continuing to slaughter big numbers," said Varilek. "I think it proves that they have a lot of meat sold out front."

Boxed beef prices were mixed, with choice cuts adding 14 cents to $254.88 per cwt, while select cuts eased 81 cents to $255.01 per cwt, the USDA said.

Meanwhile, lean hog futures firmed after five days of lower movement on plentiful supplies of market-ready hogs, Varilek said.

"The availability of hogs is probably going to be here for a little bit," he said.

The CME February lean hogs contract added 1.200 cents to 85.350 cents per pound. The nearby December hog contract added 1.825 cents to end at 82.900 cents per pound.

Processors slaughtered 494,000 hogs, up 46,000 from the same day last week and 15,000 more than the same week a year ago.

The CME's lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash hog prices, fell 42 cents to $84.21 per cwt., its lowest since February 2.

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