LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle rise as slaughter rates increase

CHICAGO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures finished higher on Wednesday on technical buying and as rising U.S. slaughter rates eased concerns about cattle supply backups.

Cattle processing rates have ramped up after pandemic-related staffing shortages at some meat plants.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated Wednesday’s cattle slaughter at 118,000 head for a second straight day, bringing the week-to-date volume to 351,000 head. That was up from 345,000 head at the same point last week, but just behind 353,000 head a year ago, USDA data showed.

CME April live cattle futures ended up 1.800 cents at 141.900 cents per pound.

Feeder cattle futures also gained, with the March contract up 0.950 cent at 160.800 cents per pound.

CME lean hog futures eased on Wednesday in a profit-taking setback from recent highs posted as investors grew concerned about tightening U.S. supplies.

April lean hogs finished down 0.800 cent at 96.450 cents per pound after reaching a contract high in the prior session and climbing some 16% from early January lows.

Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago