Hog futures end lower despite firming wholesale pork price - CME

Cattle futures end mostly lower
calendar icon 17 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Benchmark live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) ended lower on Thursday for a third straight session as traders awaited a pickup in the cash cattle markets, but the thinly traded nearby contract hit its highest in almost eight years, reported Reuters.

CME's spot February live cattle futures settled up 0.225 cent at 162.775 cents per pound after reaching 162.825 cents, the highest on a continuous chart of the front contract since April 2015.

But most-active April cattle finished down 0.525 cent at 164.075 cents per pound.

"Fat cattle (February futures) gapped higher this week, and they have been grinding higher into contract highs every day. And the rest of the board is just flopping around," said Dennis Smith, commodity broker for Archer Financial Services.

"We are now trading all week long without direction from the cash market," Smith said, noting that cash cattle traded in bulk last week late on Friday afternoon, and a similar pattern seemed likely this week. Recent strength in cash cattle prices lent fundamental support to the market, along with tightening US cattle supplies.

CME March feeder cattle futures ended Thursday down 1.100 cents at 186.225 cents per pound.

Beef prices continued to climb, underpinning cattle futures. Choice cuts rose $3.88 to $279.55 per hundredweight (cwt), the highest since Jan. 11, according to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data, and select cuts rose $1.45 to $262.64, the highest in 10 months,

CME lean hog futures ended lower despite firming wholesale pork prices and brisk weekly export sales. April hogs ended down 0.725 cent at 85.775 cents per pound and June hogs fell 1.150 cents to settle at 103.150 cents.

The USDA priced pork carcasses at $83.06 per cwt on Thursday afternoon, up $2.12 from Wednesday.

The government reported export sales of US pork in the week ended Feb. 9 at 45,000 tonnes, up 30% from the prior four-week average. Weekly beef export sales totaled 28,100 tonnes, up 34% from the prior four-week average.

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