Volatility stirs up US cattle markets - CME

Lean hogs slump
calendar icon 21 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures saw a second day of volatile trading on Thursday, with wide trading ranges and weaker technicals resulting in the spot live cattle contract turning lower, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

One key reason, traders said, is that a white-hot cash market may have hit its limit.

Cattle sold for $175 per hundredweight (cwt) in the South and Southern Plains cash market earlier this week, according to market analysts at StoneX - with prices staying steady in Texas compared with a week ago, but $1 lower in Kansas.

"As we get into the grilling season, there's been some talk about whether maybe we're starting to see the market putting in a little bit of a top," said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based US Commodities.

Prices for choice cuts of beef shipped to wholesale buyers in large boxes fell $1.14 on Wednesday to $305.92 per hundredweight, while prices for select cuts also declined, according to US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data.

Still, market hopes for the cash market boom to continue boosted deferred live and feeder cattle contracts, traders said.

CME April live cattle futures ended down 1.325 cents at 174.100 cents per pound, while the most-active June live cattle finished up 0.750 cent at 164.350 cents.

In the feeder cattle market, all deferred contracts through March 2024 reached new contract highs on Thursday.

Most-active CME May feeder cattle hit a new contract high of 212.575 cents per pound, before settling up 1.875 cents at 212.350 cents per pound.

CME April feeder cattle futures settled up 0.350 cent at $205.025 per pound.

The hog market turned down yet again on hefty supplies and falling belly cutout prices this week: May, July and October contracts dipped to new contract lows.

CME May lean hogs closed down 1.95 cents at 76.825 cents per pound. June lean hogs settled down 1.35 cents at 85.075 86.425 cents per pound.

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