U.S. livestock: Cattle futures firm as cash market steadies

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange cattle futures firmed on Wednesday, supported by a steadying cash market, traders said.

Cash cattle traded at $115 in Kansas on Tuesday (all figures US$). That was unchanged from a week earlier and came after five straight weeks of declines, said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.

Hog futures also were firmer, bouncing from three-week lows on a round of bargain buying.

But gains were limited due to plentiful domestic supplies and ongoing concerns about both domestic and foreign demand, traders said.

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“Big picture, we still have record amounts of hogs, record slaughter rates, record pork production and we await an export program,” INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.

“Two months ago there were hopes that we’d have some exports going by May and now I sense the industry has pushed those thoughts forward to the ‘fall’.”

CME June lean hogs closed up 1.225 cents at 85.2 cents/lb. while actively traded July hogs ended 2.1 cents higher at 87.8 cents.

June live cattle rose 0.8 cent to 112.35 cents per pound, and actively traded August gained 0.075 cent to 107.85 cents.

August feeder cattle finished up 0.5 cent at 142.725 cents/lb. and September feeders rose 0.35 cent to 143.025 cents.

— Reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub in Chicago.

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