LIVESTOCK-CME cattle futures rise in recovery from contract lows

CHICAGO, March 2 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures on Monday recovered from contract lows reached last week as concerns temporarily eased about the economic impact from the global coronavirus outbreak.

Equity markets also rose on speculation that central banks will cut interest rates to soften the economic blow of the epidemic.

“The market has been hit hard on the belief that the U.S. economy specifically would be hit to a moderate or heavy extent,” said Rich Nelson, chief strategist for Illinois-based broker Allendale. “This will help ease some of that concern.”

CME April live cattle closed 2.575 cents higher at 110.150 cents per pound. June futures, the second-most- active contract, jumped 2.775 cents to 103.975 cents per pound.

April feeder cattle ended 2.350 cents firmer at 135.050 cents per pound. On Friday, the contract touched its lowest price since September.

In the hog market, futures ended mixed as large supplies and ongoing uncertainty about Chinese demand continued to hang over the market, analysts said.

Meat companies slaughtered an estimated 495,000 hogs on Monday, up from 463,000 a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Traders are watching for signs of accelerated Chinese buying of U.S. pork to reduce large American supplies. China, the world’s top pork consumer, agreed to increase purchases of U.S. farm goods as part of the Phase 1 trade deal signed in January. Under a recently announced program, Chinese importers can begin registering with the government for waivers of tariffs imposed during the countries’ trade war.

China needs to increase pork imports from around the world after a fatal pig disease, African swine fever, decimated its herd.

“We still haven’t got the China buying concern fixed yet,” Allendale’s Nelson said.

CME April lean hogs, the most active contract, settled 0.525 cent higher at 62.800 cents per pound. June futures were down 0.200 cent at 77.025 cents.

Cash cutout prices were $2.43 per cwt higher for carcasses and $3.22 higher for hams, according to the USDA. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by Dan Grebler)