January 16, 2018 / 11:28 PM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-CME nearby hogs hit contract high; cattle futures firm

    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange
February lean hog futures        rose nearly 3 percent on
Tuesday and set a contract high, buoyed by firmer cash hog
prices and spreading against cattle futures, traders said.
    Wholesale pork fetched $80.71 per cwt, down 38 cents from
Monday.          But lean hogs in the top cash market of Iowa
and southern Minnesota rose 48 cents Tuesday to $70.52 per cwt,
according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.          
    Traders expect that packers will continue to compete for
hogs, especially in the eastern Corn Belt, where snow and cold
temperatures are impacting the movement of hogs off farms.
    February         hogs settled up 2.325 cents per pound at
73.900 cents after posting a contract high at 74.25 cents. April
        ended 1.825 cents higher at 76.150 cents.
    CME live cattle futures firmed for a third straight session,
with the February contract        pushing above its 200-day
moving average.
    Wintry weather may have played a role, complicating the
transportation of livestock to packing plants. 
    Views on this week's cash cattle trade were mixed, with
bulls expecting packers to pay up for cattle based on good
margins and a smaller number of animals for sale than last week.
But bears see steady to weaker cash prices due to soft beef
demand and increased supplies ahead.
    Cash bids early Tuesday in the U.S. Plains were $118 per cwt
against asking prices of $122 to $123 in the southern Plains.
Cash cattle traded last week in the Plains at $118 to $121 per
    February         live cattle finished up 0.725 cent per
pound at 118.100 cents. April         ended up 0.925 cent at
120.375 cents.
    CME feeder cattle futures rose, led by higher live cattle
futures. Most-active March         feeder cattle closed 1.275
cents per pound higher at 143.925 cents.

 (Additional reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by Lisa
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