Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) feeder cattle futures gained on Thursday, lifted by lower corn futures and firmer back-month live cattle.
“From the feeder buyer’s perspective, you had higher cattle and lower corn, so that’s a good deal,” said Alan Brugler, president of Brugler Marketing.
CME August feeder cattle closed 1.35 cents firmer at 152.95 cents/lb. (all figures US$).
Nearby August live cattle futures ended 0.725 cents lower at 118.525 cents/lb., while December live cattle added 1.775 cents to 129.825 cents/lb.
Chicago Board of trade’s most-active corn futures dipped 13 cents to $6.62 per bushel.
Cattle slaughter resumed its normal pace on Thursday after a cyberattack shut down operations at meatpacker JBS over the weekend.
Beef packers slaughtered 120,000 head on Thursday, up 4,000 from a year ago but still down from 1,000 head a week earlier.
Wholesale beef prices jumped after news of the shutdown, but quieted Thursday, with select cuts climbing $1.28, to $313.16/cwt., while choice cuts added 39 cents, to $340.55/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
JBS and three other beef packers in the United States account for the purchase and slaughter of about 85 per cent of all fed cattle.
Meanwhile, hog futures climbed as firm demand pushes futures higher, while high grain prices keep hog producers from adding new hogs that could ease tight inventories.
CME July lean hog futures added 0.525 cents to 119 cents/lb., while nearly every contract found life-of-contract highs.
The CME lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash prices, climbed to $113.75/cwt.
“You’ve got tight inventories and good domestic demand and the export market’s not allowing any slack – that’s normally where your price rationing would come in,” said Brugler.
Hog slaughter was at 470,000 head, down 11,000 from a week prior but up 30,000 from a year ago.
Hog herd expansion has been stalled by higher feed costs and long-term demand uncertainty, Brugler noted.
“Everybody’s afraid of paying too much for feeder pigs and too much for corn, then six months later, they’re not worth anything,” he said.
— Christopher Walljasper reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.