U.S. livestock: CME hog futures end weaker, but off lows

Chicago | Reuters –– Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hogs extended losses for a seventh consecutive session Friday on downward-trending cash and wholesale pork prices, traders said.

April closed 0.2 cent per pound weaker at 62.1 cents, and May 0.825 cent lower at 71.425 cents (all figures US$).

Friday morning’s average market-ready or cash hog price in Iowa/Minnesota fell 95 cents per hundredweight (cwt) from Thursday to $60.01, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Separate USDA data showed the day’s wholesale pork price sagged 76 cents/cwt to $67.74 from Thursday.

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Less-severe impact from the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) made hogs readily available, which is pressuring cash prices and wholesale pork values.

“The higher slaughter numbers have added to product availability, putting packers and producers at an even larger disadvantage,” Steve Meyer wrote in his Daily Livestock Report newsletter.

The strong dollar and backup of product on the U.S. West Coast further strain pork export demand. And already-plentiful pork may compete with abundant chicken if more foreign buyers tighten restrictions on U.S. poultry over bird flu concerns.

Speculative buying, bargain hunting and the prospect that moderating temperatures will stir backyard cookouts lifted hog futures from morning lows.

Cattle futures retreat

Profit-taking while investors awaited for the bulk of cash cattle to change hands snapped CME live cattle futures’ three-day win streak, said traders.

Fund liquidation and sell stops exacerbated futures’ losses.

April closed 1.525 cents/lb. lower at 154.275 cents, and June 1.35 cents lower at 145.275 cents.

Friday morning, a small number of cash cattle in Kansas traded steady with last week’s mostly $161/cwt sales, feedlot sources said.

Cattle sellers elsewhere in the U.S. Plains held out for at least $163/cwt, compared with mostly $161-$162 last week.

Packers cut kills to avoid spending more than they have to for supplies while trying to realign their margin and push up wholesale beef prices.

Government data showed packers on Friday processed 96,000 head of cattle, 6,000 fewer than last week.

The morning’s choice wholesale beef price fell $1.91/cwt from Thursday to $244.07. Select cuts dropped $1.20, to $244.59, the USDA said.

Live cattle futures’ selloff spillover into the thinly-traded CME feeder cattle market.

March closed 1.55 cents/lb. lower at 213.125 cents.

Theopolis Waters reports on livestock futures markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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