U.S. livestock: Cattle hit one-month high ahead of USDA data

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures jumped to the highest levels in over a month on Friday, lifted by technical buying and expectations for bullish government supply data that was due after the close of trading.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Cattle on Feed report, however, was deemed bearish by analysts, and that could pressure futures come Monday.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange October live cattle rose 1.475 cents to 111.575 cents/lb. while the most-active December contract was up 1.225 cents to 117.425 cents (all figures US$).

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CME October feeder cattle were up 0.225 cent, to 156.1 cents/lb.

The trading session finished less than an hour before USDA said ranchers placed 1.93 million cattle in U.S. feedlots in August. That was a three per cent increase over August 2016, when analysts had predicted a decrease of nearly 3 percent.

“It’s a negative report… and most negative for the February and April time slots,” said U.S. Commodities analyst Don Roose, adding that futures could open on Monday 0.5 cent to one cent lower.

In a separate monthly cold storage report, USDA said 476.26 million lbs. of beef were in storage as of Aug. 31. That’s up from 431.84 million lbs. at the end of July and topped estimates from a few analysts for 426.5 million lbs.

Pork in cold storage totaled 575.681 million lbs., up from 554.854 million at the end of July and was just above estimates for 573.5 million.

CME lean hog futures extended their decline under pressure from abundant U.S. supplies and weakening wholesale pork prices amid record-high slaughter rates.

Front-month CME October hogs sank to a lifetime low for the second straight session, finishing 1.625 cents lower at 55.700 cents/lb. Most-active December hogs were down 1.175 cents at 56.625 cents/lb.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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