Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures fell for a third day on Thursday, as the softer cash market in the southern U.S. Plains weighed on futures, traders said.
“This cash just continues to struggle,” said Joe Kooima, commodity broker at Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading Inc. “We’ve just got that anchor in the south.”
Fewer market-ready cattle in the northern Plains has supported cash prices, with cattle in Nebraska selling for $125-$127, while Texas and Oklahoma saw $121-$122 trade, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (all figures US$).
“From the picture up north, I don’t understand why we have to be too bearish October,” said Kooima. “We’re not too far away from that in cash.”
Benchmark CME October live cattle eased 0.7 cent to 129.6 cents/lb.
October feeder cattle futures eased one cent, to 168.275 cents/lb. August feeders, which go off the board on Friday, firmed 0.15 cent, to 159.45 cents/lb.
Beef prices firmed after easing earlier in the week, as retailers make final wholesale purchases ahead of the Labour Day Holiday on Sept. 6, with choice cuts adding 38 cents to $347.27/cwt. and select cuts gaining $3.90, to $319.59/cwt, USDA said.
Meanwhile, CME October lean hog futures softened 0.85 cent to 87.9 cents/lb., as meatpackers anticipate increased market-ready hog supplies in the coming months.
“I think the packers have their feet up on the desk, knowing that we’re going to be coming into some numbers, and they’re just waiting,” said Kooima.
The CME’s lean hog index fell to $106.34, but remains premium to the futures markets.
— Christopher Walljasper reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.