Lean hog futures finish higher - CME

Cattle markets ease on larger US supply
calendar icon 27 October 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures eased on Thursday, with losses in equities and bigger-than-expected US livestock supplies dragging down the markets, reported Reuters.

Traders kept an eye on Wall Street as weakness in stocks and concerns about the economy can limit consumer demand for pricey beef, analysts said. Stocks closed lower amid signs of economic resiliency that could encourage the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates at a restrictive level for longer than expected.

CME December live cattle ended down 0.100 cent at 179.325 cents per pound, while February live cattle fell 1.100 cents to 180.400 cents per pound. January feeder cattle dropped 1.475 cents to 235.075 cents per pound.

"I'd put this on the back of the stock market," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist for agricultural brokerage Allendale.

Live cattle and feeder cattle futures reached their lowest prices since June on Monday and Tuesday after the US government, in a report issued after markets closed on Friday, said that producers placed more cattle than expected into US feedlots in September.

The large placements surprised some analysts because US cattle inventories dropped to their lowest levels in decades after drought raised costs for feed.

"The first and second quarter of next year will have a few extra cattle than we expected," Nelson said.

Tight supplies of cattle and high beef prices have cooled US beef exports, though sales increased last week. Weekly US beef export sales were 17,400 metric tons for 2023, up 72% from the prior four-week average, the USDA said.

For pork, weekly export sales of 28,200 metric tons for 2023 were down 8% from the prior four-week average.

Most-active December lean hog futures finished 1.125 cents higher at 68.625 cents per pound at the CME. February hogs rose 1.125 cents to 71.825 cents per pound after notching contract lows during the previous four sessions.

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