Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange cattle futures gained on Monday as cattle processing picked up, led by strong beef prices, while feed cattle gained on tight supplies and a lower corn trade, analysts said.
CME June live cattle futures added 2.2 cents to 118.225 cents/lb., while August feeder cattle futures finished 4.425 cents higher at 144.275 cents/lb.
Daily cattle slaughter climbed to 119,000 head processed on Monday, up 5,000 from a week earlier.
“We showed improvement on packer runs to start the week,” said Matthew Wiegand, Risk Management Consultant at FuturesOne. “We’ll need to continue that all week.”
Beef packers have been enjoying strong margins lead by strong consumer demand.
Prices for select cuts of beef shipped to wholesalers added $3.49, to $293.76/cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while choice cuts gained $3.23, to $309.11/cwt.
Packer profits climbed to $737.10 per head, up from $659.65 a week earlier, according to livestock marketing advisory service HedgersEdge.com.
Feeder cattle gained from a dip in the corn market, after the feed grain climbed to new eight-year highs last week.
CME lean hog futures eased for a second consecutive session, though it remains near recent highs.
CME’s most-active June lean hogs fell 0.75 cents to 112.1 cents/lb., while back-month contracts reached new lifetime highs.
Hog slaughter improved from last week, with 483,000 head processed on Monday, but remains soft, Wiegand said.
“We got off to a good start this week, but we’re still showing tight numbers nearby,” he said.
The CME lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash prices, climbed to $109.22/cwt.
— Christopher Walljasper reports on agriculture and ag commodities for Reuters from Chicago.