U.S. livestock: Cattle climb on technical buying, demand optimism

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures gained about one per cent on Tuesday, lifted by technical buying and optimism for the continued robust demand for cattle and beef, traders and analysts said.

Cattle futures shrugged off three straight sessions of declines to rise to the highest levels in about a week.

Stronger wholesale beef prices and expectations that feedlots would offer fewer cattle for sale this week helped to propel the gains, with CME February live cattle finishing up 0.95 cent at 122.15 cents/lb. (all figures US$).

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“Some of the recent data has been supportive to the (cattle) market. The beef cutout values especially have been better than people expected given how big the slaughter numbers have been,” said Steiner Consulting Group analyst Altin Kalo.

The closely watched weekly comprehensive beef cutout report on Monday showed beef prices at $209.57/cwt, up 14 cents from the previous week. Prices rose at a time when they typically ease as many retailers have already purchased meat to sell during the holidays.

Daily beef cutout prices were lower on Tuesday but prices remained near the highest levels in weeks, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

“That’s giving people confidence that demand is in good shape,” Kalo said of beef prices.

CME January feeder cattle futures jumped 2.275 cents to 147.3 cents/lb.

Meanwhile, lighter-weight feeder steers were up $2-$3/cwt at a weekly cattle auction in Oklahoma City, USDA said.

Lean hog futures were mostly lower, weighed down by abundant hog supplies and weaker cash prices.

“Most plants have all the pigs they need and then some,” one cash hog broker said.

Most-active February hog futures fell 1.625 cents to 65.2 cents/lb., about a one-week low.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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