April 20, 2017 / 8:05 PM / 9 months ago

LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle futures again notch 1-year highs

    * Feeder cattle finishes lower
    * Lean hog market extends losses
    * USDA cattle report on Friday

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, April 20 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange
live cattle futures        climbed on Thursday to a one-year top
for the third straight day, and deferred contracts marked fresh
highs, helped by firmer wholesale beef values, traders said.
    April live cattle         closed 1.700 cents per pound
higher at 129.625 cents. June         ended 0.525 cent higher at
 116.475 cents and hit a new high of 117.475 cents.
    Thursday morning's average wholesale beef price was up 20
cents per cwt to $215.37 from Wednesday. Select cuts jumped
$1.58 to $203.58, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
    Retail beef buying picked up as grocers feature product for
spring grilling while stocking up for mid-May Mother's Day meal
    Futures benefited from their discounts to this week's prices
for market-ready, or cash, cattle.
    "If the cash market keeps moving up, it's hard for futures
to move lower because you already have these discounts in the
market," said U.S. Commodities analyst Don Roose.
    Processors this week paid $130 to $133 per cwt for cash
cattle that a week earlier sold for mostly $128, said feedlot
    Tight supplies in parts of the Plains forced cash prices
upward, said traders and analysts. They said profitable packer
margins emboldened feedlots to hold out for better money for
their animals.
    Some market participants adjusted positions ahead of
Friday's USDA monthly Cattle-On-Feed report.             
    Profit-taking undercut CME feeder cattle futures, which
earlier spiked to new highs led by live cattle market gains.
    April feeder cattle         closed 0.775 cent per pound
lower at 137.900 cents. May         ended down 0.575 cent at
139.750 cents and earlier made a new high of 143.000 cents.
    CME lean hogs         maintained their recent string of
posting new monthly lows, pressured by slumping cash prices amid
plentiful seasonal supplies, said traders.
    Market bulls expect cash prices to bottom out after packers
process the glut of pigs resulting from Easter-holiday plant
closures that backed up animals on farms. 
    May         closed 2.075 cents per pound lower at 63.800
cents, and hit a seven-month low. Most-actively traded June
        ended 1.2875 cents lower at 68.675 cents, their lowest
in six months.
    Thursday morning's average cash hog price in Iowa/Minnesota
was at $54.91 per cwt, 74 cents lower than on Wednesday, the
USDA said.
    U.S. government data on Thursday morning showed the average
wholesale pork price up 55 cents per cwt from Wednesday to
$75.34, mostly due to $4.25 higher pork bellies.

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by Tom Brown)
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