CME live cattle, hog futures seen opening firmer

Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:45am EST

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Dec 30 (Reuters) - CME live cattle futures were expected to open firm on Monday, led by last Friday's record high cash prices, traders and analysts said.

* Slaughter cattle prices in the U.S. Plains hit an all-time high on Friday, the result of a smaller herd that already has driven up beef prices, analysts and economists said.

* The upturn in wholesale beef values on Friday and anticipation of tighter cattle supplies ahead could encourage futures buyers on Monday, traders said.

* There were no live cattle deliveries reported by the CME late on Friday against the December contract that will expire on Dec. 31.

LIVE CATTLE - Called 0.200 to 0.300 cent per lb higher.

* Last week, cash cattle in Texas, on average, traded at $133.50 per hundredweight (cwt) with sales of mostly $133 in Kansas, feedlot sources said. The bulk of cash cattle in Nebraska fetched $135, they said.

* The week before, cash cattle in the U.S. Plains moved at $130 per cwt.

* Analysts and traders were surprised that packers actively spent more for cattle given their poor margins. And, producers did not need as many cattle with plants closed for the New Year's holiday.

* "They simply needed supplies to make good on their customer's meat orders," a trader said.

* He said some packers may have bought cattle ahead of time, knowing those prices could be even higher heading into the first full kill week after the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

FEEDER CATTLE - Seen steady to 0.400 cent per lb higher.

* CME feeder cattle could draw support from possibly firm live cattle futures and weak corn prices.

* Benchmark Oklahoma City market feeder cattle prices will be unavailable Dec. 30 and 31 because of New Year's holiday.

* LEAN HOGS - 0.400 cent to 0.700 cent per lb higher.

* CME hog traders are seen opening higher in response to Friday's bullish USDA quarterly hogs report.

* That data showed the U.S. hog herd fell by 1 percent in the latest quarter, slightly more than forecast as a deadly swine virus thwarted pork producers' efforts to rebuild herds.

* The government's report could be more supportive for deferred hog futures while soft market fundamentals limit the February contract's advances, a trader said.

* Cash prices in the Midwest direct markets on Friday were mixed, according to USDA.

* Some packers will buy hogs to fill out this week's production, a trader said. Other processors have their needs met during the holiday-shortened workweek, he said.

* The government's Friday afternoon wholesale pork price, or cutout, tumbled $3.48 per cwt to $82.85. The cutout decline was mainly due to the $12.74 drop in costs for pork bellies, which are made into bacon.

* Bacon demand should subside as year-end holiday vacations wind down, an analyst said. (Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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