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LIVESTOCK-Cattle fall most in 1-1/2 weeks as beef prices tumble
October 19, 2016 / 10:20 PM / 10 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Cattle fall most in 1-1/2 weeks as beef prices tumble

By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - U.S. live cattle futures fell
the most in 1-1/2 weeks on Wednesday in a selloff linked to
lackluster demand from meat packers and government data that
showed the lowest wholesale beef prices in four years, traders
said.
    Feeder cattle futures dropped the most so far this month
while lean hogs declined to a 14-year low before rebounding
slightly, as abundant U.S. meat supplies continued weigh on
livestock futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
    Live cattle futures extended losses in relatively heavy
trading volumes at midday, when the U.S. Department of
Agriculture showed sharply lower beef prices. Choice-grade
wholesale beef at the end of the trading day was down $2.86 at
$178.44 per cwt, lowest since 2012.
    CME December live cattle futures settled 2.100 cents
lower at 97.125 cents per lb and was holding above the six-year
lows reached last week.
    "There's just not a lot of positive news out there," said
Doug Houghton, analyst at brokerage Brock Associates.
    Packers earlier were not aggressively bidding to buy
slaughter-weight cattle that feedlots were offering at $100 to
$102 per cwt, following cash cattle trades last week of $97 to
$98. 
    Traders also were beginning to square their positions in
advance of USDA's monthly Cattle on Feed report on Friday
afternoon. Analysts polled by Reuters expected USDA to show
cattle placed on feed in September up 3.6 percent from the same
month last year.    
    CME November feeder cattle futures eased 3.200 cents
to 114.825 cents per lb, further pressured by a spike in corn
futures that could raise animal feed costs for ranchers
fattening cattle for slaughter.
    CME December lean hogs settled 0.050 cent higher at
41.175 cents per lb. The contract earlier fell to a lifetime low
of 40.700 cents per lb, the lowest level on a continuous chart
since 2002.
    U.S. hog production is expected to be record-high this year,
and supplies could outpace pork packers' capacity to slaughter
the animals.
    Top global pork producer Smithfield Foods, a division of
China's WH Group, late on Wednesday said operations
were back to normal at facilities in North Carolina after hog
slaughter was disrupted by Hurricane Matthew.

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Matthew
Lewis)

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