U.S. livestock: Cattle futures limit down again on Tyson fire

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) cattle futures plunged to multiyear lows on Tuesday, with some contract months for both live cattle and fed cattle ending at their daily trading limits for the second day in a row.

Traders said the market continued to weigh the impact of a fire at a key Kansas beef production facility owned by U.S. meat processor Tyson Foods.

“Panic rules and uncertainty is abound as we await some direction from Tyson about how long plant repairs may take — six weeks or six months,” INTL FCStone said in a note to clients.

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The front-month live cattle contract settled at its lowest since October 2016 while the front-month feeder cattle contract dropped to its lowest since March 2017.

Tyson has said the Holcomb, Kansas plant, which analysts estimated processed 6,000 head of cattle a day, will be down “indefinitely” after the Friday night fire that put some put some 3,800 workers out of work.

CME August live cattle ended down 4.5 cents at 100.55 cents/lb. (all figures US$). October also notched a limit-down move, sagging 4.5 cents to 99.25 cents.

CME August feeder cattle ended 6.675 cents lower at 127.725 cents/lb. while September was down the daily trading limit of 6.75 cents at 127.20 cents/lb.

Lean hogs also were weaker.

CME October hogs ended the day down 2.5 cents at 64.575 cents/lb.

The thinly traded August lean hogs contract settled down 0.175 cent at 79 cents/lb.

— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.

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