U.S. livestock: Hog futures mixed, cattle futures firm

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) lean hog futures were mixed on Monday, with the front-month contract firming slightly after two straight days of declines while deferreds continued to ease.

Traders said that fresh pork exports to China were required to ease the burdensome supplies and boost hog futures higher.

“Even though we are running almost three times larger in cumulative shipments this year, this market still wants to get its fix each week,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.

Cattle futures ended in positive territory, supported by signs of tightening supplies, bucking a seasonal trend that usually shows rising stocks ahead of summer grilling season.

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CME April lean hogs ended up 0.025 cent at 77.4 cents/lb. while June hogs, the most active contract, fell 0.05 cent to 88.5 cents (all figures US$).

“A very large weekly export sale to China shocked us three weeks ago, but sales to China have disappointed each of the past two weeks and have reined in futures exuberance in the process,” INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.

April live cattle futures ended 0.475 cent higher at 126.175 cents/lb. while the actively traded June contract rose 0.475 cent to 119.475 cents.

April feeder cattle futures were 0.2 cent higher at 145.45 cents/lb. while May feeders were up 0.1 cent at 148.875.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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