August 25, 2017 / 7:07 PM / 10 months ago

LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle gain before USDA report but off highs

    * Feeder cattle ends mostly higher
    * Lean hog market finishes weaker

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle posted modest gains on Friday after investors tweaked
positions before the U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly
Cattle-On-Feed report at 2 p.m. CDT (1900 GMT), traders said.
    Analysts polled by Reuters expect the report to show 6.2
percent more cattle entered feedlots in July than a year ago.
    Packers paid less for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle this
week, which pulled futures from session tops.
    August        , which will expire on Aug. 31, ended
unchanged at 105.950 cents. Most actively traded October        
finished up 0.100 cent at 106.925 cents, and December        
ended 0.125 cent higher at 109.925 cents.
    This week cash cattle in the U.S. Plains moved at $106 to
$107 per cwt, down from $109 to $110 last week.
    Ample seasonal supplies of cattle at heavier weights 
discouraged packers from paying more for animals but allowed
grocers to shop for beef at lower cost.                      
    "The decline in wholesale beef prices says clearly that we
produced more beef. It's more of a supply-side than a
demand-side issue," said Livestock Marketing Information Center
Director Jim Robb.
    Beef demand typically encounters headwinds in September,
following the end of the summer grilling season and as consumers
focus more on back-to-school items than expensive cuts of meat.
    Traders will gauge Hurricane Harvey's impact on meat sales
and cattle production in parts of Texas - the country's top
cattle producing state.             
    Many of the feedlots in Texas are located well north of the
storm, but a significant number of cows and calves are on
grazing land in southwestern parts of the state.
    Firmer back-month live cattle contracts lifted CME feeder
cattle for a second day in a row.
    August feeders        , which will expire on Aug. 31, closed
down 0.225 cent per pound at 141.375 cents. Most actively traded
September         closed 0.750 cent higher at 142.925 cents, and
October         finished up 0.550 cent at 142.950 cents.
    CME lean hogs ended moderately lower, pressured by
downward-spiraling cash prices and the morning's softer
wholesale pork values as supplies continued to build seasonally,
said traders.
    October led declines after investors sold that contract and
simultaneously bought deferred months in a trading tactic known
as bear spreading.
    October         ended 0.700 cent per pound lower at 63.075
cent, and December         finished down 0.300 cent at 58.950

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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