US lean hog futures close lower - CME

Cattle futures post near 8-yr highs
calendar icon 20 February 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Benchmark live cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) set life-of-contract highs on Friday and the front contract hit its highest since 2015 as shrinking cattle supplies lifted cash prices, Reuters reported, citing traders.

Market-ready cattle traded in southern Plains cash markets at $160 to $162 per hundredweight (cwt), traders said, steady to $2 higher than the bulk of last week's trade.

"Cash is definitely the driver here. We are getting a little bit tighter, so packers are trying to get some cattle locked in. They are willing to pay up, and it's helping to drive the futures higher," said Austin Schroeder, commodity analyst with Nebraska-based Brugler Marketing.

Thinly traded February live cattle futures settled up 0.800 cent at 163.575 cents per pound after reaching 164.075 cents, the highest on a continuous chart of the front contract since April 2015. April cattle, the most active contract, settled up 0.575 cent at 164.650 cents per pound after setting a contract high at 165.400 cents.

Feeder cattle futures closed mixed, with CME March feeders settling up 0.300 cent at 186.525 cents per pound and most back months posting modest declines.

Rising wholesale beef prices lent support. Choice cuts were priced at $281.04 per cwt, up $1.49 from Thursday and the highest since Jan. 10, according to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. Select cuts rose $3.25 to $265.89 per cwt, the highest in a year.

CME lean hog futures closed lower for a third straight session on technical weakness ahead of a US holiday weekend and softer pork prices. April hogs  settled down 0.500 cent at 85.275 cents per pound, turning lower after early strength, and June hogs fell 0.425 cent to end at 102.725 cents.

The USDA priced the pork carcass cutout at $82.09 per cwt on Friday afternoon, down 97 cents from Thursday.

US markets and most government offices will be closed on Monday in observance of the Presidents' Day holiday.

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