U.S. livestock: Cattle futures climb on USDA report

Lean hog futures' gains continue

CME August 2021 live cattle (candlesticks) with 20-, 50- and 100-day moving averages (pink, brown, dark red lines). (Barchart)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures gained on Monday, supported by Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report that showed smaller-than-expected placements, traders said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange June live cattle futures settled 0.55 cent higher at 116.275 cents/lb. while the August contract ended 1.1 cents higher at 117.95 cents (all figures US$).

“It wasn’t as large a number, relative to a year ago, as everyone thought,” said Alan Brugler, president of Brugler Marketing.

After the CME close on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the number of cattle placed in U.S. feedlots during March was up 28 per cent from a year earlier — lower than analyst predictions.

Feeder cattle futures were mixed, with CME August feeders adding 0.4 cent to close at 150.3 cents/lb., though nearby contracts slid as benchmark Chicago Board of Trade corn futures climbed to an eight-year high at $6.57-1/2 per bushel, indicating higher feed costs.

Boxed beef prices climbed on Monday, with choice cuts gaining $1.43 to $285.20 per cwt., while select cuts added $2.22 to 274.35 per cwt.

Cash cattle trade was steady, with trade ranging from $118 in Kansas to $121 in Nebraska late last week, according to the USDA.

Lean hogs continue climbing higher as pork demand is set to strengthen heading into the summer, while supply remains tight.

“You’re drawing down against current production, you don’t have any cushion in the cold storage and we’re going to get into the time period when we don’t have as large of a slaughter,” said Brugler.

CME June lean hogs gained 1.125 cents to 106.85 cents/lb.

The CME’s lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash prices, climbed to $106.51/cwt, its highest since October 2014.

— Christopher Walljasper reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.

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