Lean hog futures end mostly lower - CME

Live cattle futures mixed
calendar icon 28 July 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Feeder cattle futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME) ticked up again on Thursday, bolstered by continued weakness in corn futures, while live cattle futures were mixed on somewhat sluggish cash sales, Reuters reported, citing analysts.

The US Agriculture Department said on Thursday morning that export sales of beef rose to 21,400 metric tons in the week ended July 20, up from 20,900 metric tons the prior week.

"While the exports were decent, what we're seeing today is uncertainty in the market about whether cattle futures market is going to make a rally up to be closer to the cash market," said Karl Setzer, brokerage research lead with Mid-Co Commodities.

CME August live cattle futures slipped 0.625 cent on Thursday, settling at 178.050 cents per pound. Most-active October ticked down 0.450 cent to settle at 179.500 cents per pound.

CME August feeder cattle futures ended up 0.450 cent at 244.650 cents per pound.

Lean hog futures were mostly lower, with the exception of the August contract. CME's most-active October lean hog futures settled down 0.375 cent, at 83.250 cents per pound.

While daily cattle slaughter rates were steady on Thursday, meat packers' margins remained in negative territory.

Meat packers lost an estimated $77.90 per head of cattle on Thursday, a bigger loss-per-head than Wednesday and larger than a week earlier, according to Denver-based livestock marketing advisory service HedgersEdge.com LLC. A shrinking US cattle herd continues to underpin the market.

Cargill Inc's beef processing facility in Fort Morgan, Colorado, was temporarily shut down after an exhaust pipe overheated Wednesday night, the company told Reuters in a statement.

Employees were evacuated from the plant while the isolated incident was addressed, the company said.

In the statement, Cargill said it is investigating the cause of the pipe overheating, and that "production resumed within two hours and began on time this morning."

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