December 3, 2018 / 10:36 PM / 9 days ago

LIVESTOCK-CME lean hogs ease, awaiting US-China trade truce benefits

    By Karl Plume
    CHICAGO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - U.S. lean hog futures closed
mostly lower on Monday in a profit-taking setback from near
two-highs as traders awaited further confirmation of pork
purchases by China following a thaw in tense trade relations
over the weekend.
    At a gathering of G20 countries in Argentina on Saturday,
the White House agreed to delay new tariffs during a 90-day
truce period, while Beijing pledged to purchase more
agricultural products from U.S. farmers immediately.
            
    Hog futures bounded higher as trading opened for the week as
investors speculated that pork would be among the primary
products purchased and after surprise pork sales to China in
weekly U.S. government export sales report last week.
    China has also seen vast numbers of its domestic hog herd
culled due to African swine fever that has struck dozens of
farms across the world's top hog and pork producing country.
    But buying enthusiasm faded as details of China's buying
plan remained very limited and as Beijing has yet to lower its
steep import tariffs on U.S. pork shipments.
    "We had an initial positive reaction this morning on the
trade news. But in the absence of anything concrete, it was
walked back a bit," said Matthew Wiegand, broker with
FuturesOne.
    "Until we see some more follow through on the Chinese
commitments, it's going to be a tough climb," he said.
    Chicago Mercantile Exchange February lean hogs       
settled down 0.650 cent at 66.900 cents per pound while April
       fell 0.750 cent at 71.225 cents.
    Live cattle futures ended lower on seasonally muted packer
demand in the cash market and adequate supplies of fed cattle
available. Harsh Plains weather limited declines as snow and
frigid temperatures were seen slowing cattle growth and
movement.
    Feeder cattle, meanwhile, slumped as higher corn futures
prices suggested higher production costs.
    CME February live cattle futures         settled down 0.325
cent at 120.175 cents per pound. January feeder cattle futures
        ended down 0.725 cent at 144.500 cents.
    

 (Reporting by Karl Plume; editing by Diane Craft)
  
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