U.S. livestock: Cash, pork prices boost CME hogs to new highs

(Gloria Solano-Aguilar photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog February futures scored a fresh contract high and deferred contracts scored monthly highs on Monday, fuelled by firmer cash and wholesale pork values, said traders.

February hogs ended 1.025 cents/lb. higher at 71.35 cents, and hit a new contract high of 71.425 cents. April ended 0.975 cent higher at 71.225 cents, a seven-month top.

Monday morning’s slaughter-ready, or cash, hog price in Iowa/Minnesota averaged $67.63/cwt in light volume, up $1.01 from Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Separate USDA data showed the average wholesale pork price jumped $1.55 per cwt to $86.01 from Friday, with price increases for all categories listed except ribs.

“Packers have made good money for a long time while moving product, so they want to maintain the flow of hogs,” a Midwest hog dealer said.

Tyson Foods reported a 28.6 per cent rise in quarterly profit, helped by higher exports of beef and pork and lower livestock costs.

Analysts and traders said some supermarkets and restaurants might be close to finalizing pork purchases for Valentine’s Day meal advertisements.

Flat/mixed live cattle

CME live cattle futures closed steady to narrowly mixed after investors adjusted positions while waiting for cash cattle to change hands this week, said traders.

February live cattle closed 0.475 cent/lb. lower at 116.425 cents, April unchanged at 115.625 cents and June up 0.175 cent to 105.825 cents.

Some packers curbed production to avoid paying more than last week for supplies while grappling their poor margins and adequate supplies.

However, other processors may take advantage of reduced slaughter rates, which tends to send retailers scrambling for product.

Last week, packers paid $119/cwt for cash cattle that fetched $122 a week earlier.

Monday’s average beef packer margins were a negative $59.75 per head, down from negative $57.05 on Friday, as calculated by HedgersEdge.com.

Choice wholesale beef price was up 65 cents/cwt at $192.05. Select cuts were rose 29 cents to $190.22, USDA said.

CME March feeder cattle was pressured by soft February live cattle futures.

Other months were supported by higher cash feeder cattle prices.

March feeders closed down 0.05 cent/lb. at 123.525 cents. April ended up 0.075 cent at 123.575 cents and May up 0.175 cent at 122.55 cents.

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


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