Chicago | Reuters – Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures dropped on Thursday in a technical-selling and profit-taking setback after scaling to three-week highs the previous day.
Strengthening cash beef prices and government data showing smaller-than-expected cattle supplies at feedlots had supported the market earlier this week.
“Coming out of the cattle on feed report, we just didn’t have enough to break us out of the trading range. Once the surge fizzled, and in the absence of any other news, it allowed for a bit of a sell-off,” said Matthew Wiegand, a broker at FuturesOne.
CME December live cattle futures fell 1.275 cents to 117.075 cents per pound while February cattle shed 0.550 cent to 122.225 cents.
Spot October futures was the lone higher contract, closing up 0.075 cent at 113.350 cents, supported by expectations for firm cash market prices this week.
Cash cattle markets in the U.S. Plains remained largely quiet on Thursday and traders expect the bulk of the week’s cash deals to be delayed until Friday.
Packer bids at southern Plains feedlots were around $112 to $114 per cwt, although cattle owners appeared unwilling to sell for less than $115 or $116, Wiegand said.
Wholesale beef prices continued to climb, with choice cuts up $1.71 on Thursday at $213.10 per cwt, and select cuts up 49 cents at $198.31.
CME feeder cattle futures fell along with live cattle, with November futures ending down 1.975 cents at 153.950 cents per pound.
Lean hog futures ended mixed on Thursday, pressured by profit-taking after the prior day’s limit-up close. The market, however, remained underpinned by concerns about the spread of African swine fever in China, the world’s largest hog and pork producer.
CME December lean hog futures settled down 0.750 cent at 56.775 cents per pound after briefly trading above its 200-day moving average. February futures rose 0.125 cent to 64.550 cents.